This is how you Bring an Outdoor Movie Theater to your Backyard

I've hosted movie night in my backyard a couple of times for a few friends, and while it can take a lot of planning and effort to get set up, usually the results are worth the hassle. You can pull off your backyard movies without spending a lot by renting a lot of the equipment you need (such as a projector and screen); however, if you plan on throwing backyard movie nights on a regular basis, there are a few items you can pick up to help you out!

Media Device

There are plenty of media devices that can work with projectors and personally, I find the easiest method to use for outdoor movies is a laptop.

Your biggest concern is to make sure that your media device can hook up to the projector you plan on using and connect to the audio source you have. Be sure to check what outputs/inputs all your devices have and that you have the appropriate dongles, adapters, and cables for everything before you start.


Projectors can be very pricey, but it's important to remember when you're projecting a movie in your backyard that you won't need the latest and greatest video projector to get the job done. You don't need a projector that has a giant throw distance because your backyard is likely smaller than your average movie theater. Plus, your screen size probably won't be too much bigger than 120 inches, so you won't need to worry about grabbing a projector that can project an image on a massive screen.


Due to the confined space of your backyard and depending on the capabilities of your projector, you're not going to need an insanely large screen to pull of a successful outdoor movie night.


Obviously, you're going to need some sound amplification to be able to hear the movie you're watching, and there are tons of options for you out there.

If your media device supports Bluetooth, you could always grab a great Bluetooth speaker to use for sound. Or if you have a good pair of computer speakers lying around that would connect to your media device of choice, those would also be a reliable option. Remember, you're outside, and you have neighbors; you don't need the loudest sound system in the world to be able to hear your movie.

If you don't feel like using your nice speakers outside and are looking for a budget-friendly option to use for your backyard movie adventures here's suggestion.

A couple of last considerations

Be careful what movie you choose and remember you're in public. Keep the sound to a dull roar and respect your neighbors. You don't need to have a showing of The Revenant while blasting your 3000W speaker system at full volume. Make friends, not enemies!

Have you ever set up a backyard movie theater?

Are you an outdoor movie fanatic who already has a sweet setup? Let us know what you use to host the perfect backyard movie night in the comments below?

Updated July 2018: These are still my top tips and products for setting up your own backyard movie night!

Luke Filipowicz
Staff Writer

Luke Filipowicz has been a writer at iMore, covering Apple for nearly a decade now. He writes a lot about Apple Watch and iPad but covers the iPhone and Mac as well. He often describes himself as an "Apple user on a budget" and firmly believes that great technology can be affordable if you know where to look. Luke also heads up the iMore Show — a weekly podcast focusing on Apple news, rumors, and products but likes to have some fun along the way. 

Luke knows he spends more time on Twitter than he probably should, so feel free to follow him or give him a shout on social media @LukeFilipowicz.