What Things You Need to Consider to Build A Backyard Theater

Nowadays people want to watch their favorite movies under the open sky. Are you one of them? If so, we have a nice guide for you! We say you can build your own backyard cinema and recreate the memory of watching movies in the outdoors with your family. But before you start drooling, you need to have a couple of things to set everything in motion. Here we have listed all the key things that you will require to create a mesmerizing backyard movie theater setup.

Let’s take a look at those things:

Things You Need To Consider To Build A Backyard Cinema

1. Projector

You might think why you will need a projector when you can haul your large TV out in the backyard. But let me tell you, can you expand the screen size range? Or can you bring the same magic of drive-in theater with the TV? Sadly, the answer is no, but a projector can do all the things which you can’t do with TV. However, you won’t need an expensive projector to set up your backyard cinema; instead, you will need a model that would offer excellent quality in outdoor condition.

While selecting a particular model, you might feel that you are learning a new language, but it is quite easy. You should first pay close attention to the projection size because you will need minimum 120inch size to enjoy a movie with your friend. Likewise, it is also essential to look into the clear screen size range of a projector because beyond a certain size limit the clarity will deteriorate.

Along with the screen size, the throw ratio also requires your consideration because it determines the distance between the projector and the screen. The throw ratio varies from model to model, and if you have a small backyard, we will suggest you go for the short throw projector (Click here to learn how does it work). Otherwise, you will always have the option to choose a normal that will project a 120inch image from just 15 feet way. Still, we would suggest you take the measurement of your backyard before going out to purchase.

Brightness level plays a vital role when you put your projector in the outdoor because the projector gets interfered with outside light pollution. So you need to good brightness level which will cut through the outdoor ambient light and put up a vivid image quality without any degradation. The minimum brightness level you should maintain is 2000 lumens, and it would be ideal to get something around 3000lumens.

Another aspect is the resolution, but it doesn’t play a crucial role in the output quality in the screen because you won’t be viewing your movie under optimal condition. We would 1080p resolution would be ideal for the outdoor situation because it will able to bring a certain amount of crispness and richness. But you can also go for regular 480p or 720p resolution for projection. Similarly, you won’t have to emphasize much on the aspect ratio and 16:9 would do fine.

Attention: You may want to know the best outdoor projector by clicking here.

However, you shouldn’t forget about the input options of the projector because the projector would render useless if you can’t connect your external device. For connection, the minimum requirement is HDMI, VGA, USB, D-Sub and DVI port. So depending upon what type of equipment you will be connecting you should check the connection options.

Lastly, you should check tuning options available as you will need them to appropriately adjust the image on the screen. Keystone correction is almost available in every model and it would fine if you can also get a model with lens shift because you will gain complete control.

2. Screen

An outdoor movie setup is almost impossible without a proper outdoor projector screen as a projector will need decent white space to throw the content. You can always go for a DIY screen or ordinary white sheet, but you won’t be able to view the actual quality put up by the projector. It would be a smart move to go for a readymade screen that is readily available in the market at a varied range. However, like a projector, you won’t also need a highly expensive or a massive projector screen to pull off a proper backyard cinema setup.

When selecting a particular screen, you should first verify the size that the screen offers and it would blow off everything if there is any mismatch. Likewise, you should also check whether the screen is suitable for both front and back projection as you might need back projection if there is a large gathering. On the technical aspect, it is your duty to check the screen gain, the black bordering, screen material type and quality, setup convenience, and frame construction. However, first, you need to choose what kind of screen you will need as you will find a different type of displays.

A proper screen should be made out of premium screen material, and it must have 1.1 gain or something closer as it will be able to reflect back the exact quality that projector is offering. Besides, you should always look for a screen which provides an excellent frame construction so that it can stand firmly even if there is a small wind and won’t fall off quickly. People often think setting up the screen takes a lot of time but getting a convenient model solves all the issue. So you should check all the factor mentioned above while purchasing the screen.

3. The Source

Well, the source for your movie can be anything but remember the video source should be compatible with the inputs of the projector. It is crucial that you should also check whether the media player settings is compatible or not with the projector setting because it will ease up the setup process.

You can even use a laptop, PC, DVD player, Blu-Ray player or smartphone to project your movie but it all depends upon the connectivity options. However, for hooking smartphone, your projector needs to have MHL or wireless HD streaming facility. You can even use a dedicated streaming device like Amazon FireStick, Roku or Apple TV to play your movie. But once the movie starts running smoothly, you won’t care for the source of the video.

You should remember while playing any movie from a PC or laptop, but first you should whether the format is compatible with projector otherwise it will ruin the whole night. Similarly, you will also have the freedom to play a movie from a USB pen drive or SD card.

4. Sound System

Can you enjoy your movie in your backyard without proper sound? Obviously no and you will require a sound system which will offer an adequate quality as well as clarity. When setting up an audio system it requires little planning because a proper sound set up will enhance the movie experience. It is always recommended to go for a stereo sound system for outdoor setup because you will be able to hear the sound correctly which is crucial to keep the crowd engaged. You can even go for a 5.1 surround sound system but the wiring process is complicated, and the surround gets washed out in the open space.

It would be a smart idea to get to use a home theater sound system as it will render impressive quality but they are slightly expensive. Basically, there are tons of options available in the market, and you just have to find out the right setup which suits your set up and budget. However, if you have a spare computer speaker or Bluetooth speaker, you can also use it as your primary sound output.

Note: Never go for a high wattage sound system because it won’t be a good idea to disturb your neighbor or attract unwanted attention. So always try to stick to a sound system offering better quality than volume.


Apart from all the above crucial factors, you will have to pay heed to the seating arrangement because it won’t be a fun to watch a movie without proper comfort. You should arrange sofas, chairs or cushions for the adults while the kid’s zone will require to have a mattress with blankets.

If you need to buy a short throw projector, you may check our recommendation of this year.

Similarly, the snack table should be near the seating area because it is a universal ritual to gulp down popcorn or chips while watching a movie.  However, it is not always possible, but it would be an excellent initiative to minimize outside light interference by hanging regular sheet in-between the area.

Bugs issue also comes subsequently when you set up an outdoor movie session and you should totally have prepared. It is recommended to avoid wet areas because those areas serve as the breeding ground for insects. To drive away mosquitoes and moths, it would be great to carry proper precaution and repellent sprays.

So at this point, you must be quite excited to host your backyard cinema as you have got details of all the things you need for the setup. Just be smart and choose the right product instead of spending money on unnecessary products.

So get all the stuff and enjoy!

Andrew Wyatt

Andrew Wyatt

Andrew Wyatt from Texas has been the best-selling author in 2014. He was the most appreciated writer in 2015. Different organizations have honored him with different awards and memberships as well. He is a tech shop owner and completed graduation in Electrical Engineering.

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