20+ Cool backyard movie theaters for outdoor entertaining

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A fun garden project this summer would be to build a backyard movie theater for you and your family to enjoy in the balmy evenings. It could be a really fun DIY idea for you to play with. We have gathered together a collection of ideas to inspire you to design your own. Whether you decide to go inexpensive with an old white sheet and a movie projector or go more high-tech, either way would make for a fun movie night.

You can make your movie night a more upscale experience with a snack table full of innovative treats. Offer your guests some delicious drinks, hey, this idea does not just have to be for just kids! Adults can have plenty of fun with an outdoor cinema experience. Host a wine tasting party and an outdoor movie. It would also be a fantastic idea for a birthday party. Don’t forget some lights and candles for ambiance! Have a look below for some amazing ideas with links for full tutorials.

FYI: If you want an upgrade from using a simple white sheet, you can try using “Screen Paint” for viewing movies on your outdoor walls. Your DIY silver screen will be HD-projector-quality. Be sure to use the outdoor paint to stand up to the elements.

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1. Materials: 2 white, queen-sized sheets; 10-foot pole, 1.5 inches in diameter; 10-foot pole, 3 inches in diameter; 4 pieces of rope.

DIY Instructions:  Sew the sheets together with white thread along the longer side so it forms a tube. Take the 1.5-inch diameter pole and insert it so the sewn sheets hang down. Attach some rope to the end of the pole so it can be hung from a tree. Slide the thicker pole as a weight at the bottom of the screen so it hangs straight. Use thinner rope at each end of the bottom pole and tie to tent stakes to keep the screen tight. (via Pottery Barn)

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2. Southern California designer Ryan Benoit transformed a backyard into an oasis. Called the “Sun Room”, unusual cactus flowers bloom in the middle of a coffee table and movies and sporting games can be viewed—thanks to cleverly hidden HDMI cables). There is also an herb garden and a garden center. In front of the movie screen and behind a rosemary hedge is a “stage garden” bed, featuring colorful blooms. (via The Horticult)

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3. This cool outdoor movie area in Los Angeles features a large projection screen, seating areas, and a built-in fireplace. (Bobby Berk Interiors + Design)

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4. Use a white wall of your home as a movie screen—this one just happens to be the side of the garage. A digital projector will bring your movie to life. Invite your friends and neighbors over for an evening movie night! (via Koning Eizenberg Architecture)

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5. A rooftop garden in Brooklyn, New York features a movie screen for entertaining friends after the sun goes down. Pillows, cushions, fur pelts and comfortable furnishings adorn the deck. Set on an outdoor table is the movie projector. (via Brook Landscape)

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6. A 10 x 20 swimming pool features a movie screen wall. The setting is very intimate, with inviting furnishings set around the pool. Lanterns help to set a warm ambiance on the pool deck. (via Campion Platt Interiors)

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7. Be sure to invite the neighbors for your outdoor movie night. Make it simple by setting up a sheet with a projector and enjoy a movie under the stars. Don’t forget the popcorn! (via Apartment Therapy)

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8. This is a re-purposed pull-down screen from a classroom. The screen measures 8 feet long and 4 1/2 inches across the base. The addition of a gutter helps to protect the screen from the elements—just slip the gutter over the screen and secure it with screws. Check out the DIY tutorial by clicking on the link we provided. (via Grandma Agnes Attic)

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9. This blogger set up an outdoor movie theater in her backyard. It comes complete with themed snacks and favors, an outdoor projector and screen, and comfortable lounging spaces. A canvas dropcloth was used for the screen, rings were sewn into the corners where a rope was strung through and attached to tent poles and stakes. A string of globe lights adds a festive touch. (via Camille Styles)

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10. String a sheet up between two trees and watch a movie with your whole family. Turn on the projector and snuggle up with some pillows and blankets and enjoy a bowl of popcorn. Furniture and accessories were sourced from John Lewis. (via House & Garden)

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11. Host an open-air movie night with just a white sheet affixed to the wall of your house. Add some globe lights for ambiance, blankets, and pillows for comfort. Don’t forget the projector, which you can connect to a video source through an HDMI cable. This can be a DVD or Blue Ray player, laptop, or a streaming device such as an Amazon Fire TV or Apple TV box. Don’t forget the speakers! (via Ideal Home)

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12. This blogger created a DIY movie theater in her backyard for her family to enjoy. The homeowners nailed (or you can tack) a white sheet to their outside bedroom wall. Technically you are supposed to iron the sheet first for wrinkles, but they reported they did not take this step and they still were able to view the movie just fine. Set up a laptop, connect your cables to a projector on a table, get some snacks, and you are set! (via Bev Cooks)

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13. For this backyard cinema, the blogger used strong twine, a white sheet (queen), picnic rugs and blankets, a data projector and speakers, and a small stool to set the projector on. She purchased hers from Ikea. To top it off, offer your guests some snacks and beverages. Get the full tutorial by clicking on the link provided. (via Pretty Fluffy)

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14. For this DIY project, the screen was made with a 9×6 drop cloth and wood. The boards are 2″x1″x 10′, screwed together, and stapled to the drop cloth. It is standing up using drywall buckets full of sand. (via Hello Paper Moon)

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15. A cozy DIY backyard movie theater features blankets, throw pillows and all the movie essentials. A white sheet was used to create the screen. You will also need a projector, laptop to operate the projector and some speakers. Blogger Ellie Petrov has a great tutorial on how to create your backyard movie night. (via Pinterest)

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16. (via Casey Kaui)

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17. Try hosting an outdoor movie night in your backyard, complete with a table offering all the movie fixings. Buy an outdoor projector (you can find several under $100 online) and hang up a white sheet. (via Anthropologie Blog)

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18. Begin your outdoor movie night decor with several indoor/outdoor area rugs. Offer several comfortable seating options for your family and friends. Offer some cozy throws for cool evenings. Add some ambiance with lanterns, string lights. Invest in a good projector and screen. Offer a snack table and galvanized tubs filled with cool drinks. Be sure to provide some fun toppings for your popcorn! (via Annie Selke Blog)

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19. An outdoor cinema in the mountains. (via Explara)

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20. Create your version of a drive-in movie theater in your backyard and invite your closest friends to enjoy a good flick with you. This is the perfect way to enjoy the warm summer nights. (via Design Sponge)



21. A magical backyard space to cozy up with friends and family for some Netflix movies! (via @ablackaframe)


22. Create a magical movie experience in your backyard with a large white sheet, a movie projector screen, and some string lights. (via @warnerscamp)


23. This cool movie deck is spacious enough to have a movie-watching party! (via @marzena.marideko)


24. Movie nights can be enjoyed in the great outdoors by adding a few chairs, some snack stands, and a projector with a white sheet held up by pieces of wood for the screen. When the nights get cooler, don’t forget some cozy blankets! (via Colorado Homes)


25. An open-air movie screen in the Arizona desert with a cozy rug, pillows, throws, and movie night snacks. Be sure to add string lights for nighttime ambiance. (via @thejoshuatreehouse)

Readers: Have you ever thrown an outdoor movie night? Do you have some tips for creating a wonderful outdoor movie night experience?

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Michael Powell
1 year ago

Every design is good- now, for those who live in the suburbs, a backyard movie theater is real nifty, but throw in a charcoal grill(or a gas grill, if you prefer that) to grill food for the guests in addition to using the popcorn machine. For those who have plenty of yard space, throw in a few games for the kids and a cornhole game for the adults. Decorating your backyard movie theater with strings of lights can make it very lively. My plan for my own includes wireless speakers for surround sound. I already own 3 canopys, 1 for… Read more »