Backyard Movie Night: Equipment needed, set-up and more


My family’s favorite movie theatre isn’t a chain or an independent or even in front of our couch. It’s right outside. Here’s how to set up a backyard movie night at your house!

Backyard Movie Night

Why I love it:

The beauty of this backyard movie night set-up is little kids can play and wiggle while the movie is on if they can’t/won’t sit still.

Snacks are healthy, junk food or a combination of both – your choice. Wine for mom and dad is totally acceptable.

The bathroom is clean and never far away. You can pause the movie too, so you won’t miss anything.

It’s versatile. For example, this 4th of July, we will watch movies but will also open up YouTube and project some awesome fireworks shows on our screen. You can set this up in the winter, with lots of blankets and a fire pit for roasted marshmallows. And an outdoor movie is always a hit for birthday parties.

Backyard Movie Night

You will need:

A projector. This one is perfect.

A table or stand for the projector to sit on. It must be high enough for the light to hit your screen.

White sheet for a screen. Alternately, if you have a plain wall or garage door, that will work also.

Nails or tacks and a hammer to hang sheet.

Smart phone and charger.

Streaming device such as a Roku, Chromecast or Firestick.

The same streaming device app on your smart phone.

Wireless internet access with a signal that can reach outside.

Bluetooth speaker for sound.

Multi-outlet surge protector and possibly an extension cord to power everything.

Chairs, blankets, bug spray or citronella torches (in the summer) and of course, backyard movie night isn’t complete without SNACKS!


Set up:

Hang your screen in a space that is just about the same width as the sheet. We use our outdoor pergola. Secure with tacks or nails. You want it to be pulled taut.

Set the projector up behind the screen on a table or stand, so that the image projects on the back of the screen, facing towards where we are sitting. Plug the projector into the multi-outlet surge protector.

Connect your streaming device – in our case, a Roku stick – to the projector via USB port.

Open the streaming device app on your smart phone. This allows you to use the phone as a remote to select what channel and movie you want to watch. Hook up your phone to its charger, and plug the charger in. You don’t want the battery to die before movie night is over!

At this point, check to make sure you have an image from the projector and adjust the focus and size of the image if needed.

Connect your smart phone to the wireless speaker via Bluetooth. This provides the sound. You will most likely need to move the speaker out to where everyone is sitting.

Arrange chairs, light the citronella torches, bring out the snacks and decide on a movie. Play a Rock, Paper, Scissors tournament, with the winner getting to choose the film.

Backyard Movie Night

In the summer, with the warm breeze blowing on my face, my family with me, yummy snacks and a compelling story, I don’t need anything else. I hope you enjoy the backyard movie night as much as I do.

“A good movie can take you out of your dull funk and the hopelessness that so often goes with slipping into a theatre; a good movie can make you feel alive again, in contact, not just lost in another city. Good movies make you care, make you believe in possibilities again.” – Pauline Kael, For Keeps: 30 Years at the Movies

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Erin grew up in West Texas and met her husband there in college. She and J. have been married for 24 years and have lived all over Texas and the Caribbean. She settled in Corpus about 6 years ago and loves being close to the beach once again. Erin’s son arrived when she was 39, so she’s a late-comer to the mommy party! Erin has been writing in some form for most of her professional career, including for TV news, press releases and commercials. She joined CCMB to learn more about blogging. She also contributes videos of CCMB events. Likes: Weezer, avocados, nerd humor, reading, cooking, eating and wine. Dislikes: people who drive slow in the fast lane and being late.