This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series DIY Backyard Movie Series

Creating a backyard movie theater is easier than you think once you know about the few things you need to get up and running. It’s also very rewarding and a ton of fun on a warm summer night to watch movies, tv shows, or sports on the big screen in your own backyard. Below I’ll walk you through a few of the various options when it comes to your outdoor movie screen in our series on DIY backyard movie night.

Outdoor Movie Screens

The first thing you’ll need is something to project your media onto. Screens can range from a sheet out of the linen closet, to a blow-up monster as big as big as a drive-in. Here are a few examples.

You can use a sheet, but it isn’t going to give you the quality that a true screen give you especially when projecting 1080P or 3D. True screen materials diffuse light from the projector so that the picture can be seen from any angle and support true 16:9 aspect ratio so for our purposes I’ll highlight a couple of different outdoor movie screen options.

DIY Projection Screen

For the DIY’ers, there are projection screen materials you can buy to make your owndiy-backyard-movie-night screen. Ideally you’d create a frame for your screen of any size you like out of PVC piping that you can find at a home improvement store. Then you’d tension mount the screen material to the frame on all sides stretching it for a smooth installation.

I recommend Carl’s Black Out Projector Screen Cloth. It runs about $40 on Amazon and will give you a nice picture capable of handling front projections at 1080P resolution.

Blow Up Screens

If you don’t want to spend the time making your own screen there are a few different routes you can go. Blow up screens have become popular as they store easily yet you can create a huge screen in minutes without the hassle of fixing the screen to a frame.

diy-backyard-movie-nightMost of the blow-up screens self-inflate and come in a variety of sizes. Included are stakes and tethers to keep the screen on the ground.
I recommend inflatable screens by Gemmy as they are moderately priced in the blow-up category, and come in a variety of sizes. Depending on the model and size, blow up screens start from about $150 on Amazon and go up from there.

Keep in mind they do have a larger footprint so if your yard is on the small side take a look at our third option below.

Screens With Stands

Our next option is a front projection screen with stand. The stands that come with these products generally collapse into a manageable few pieces and can be stored in the carrying case included. The stands come with stakes so they can be tethered for additional support and the screen can be attached to the stand in a matter of a few minutes. There is more set-up and break down time with this option, but it offers a smaller footprintdiy-backyard-movie-night and depending on your choice they can be a bit less expensive.

I recommend the Elite Yard Master 2 Series. I’ve owned one of these for 3 years and I don’t envision ever having to buy another. They stay relatively wrinkle free and the new versions are 4K Ultra HD ready so most likely they are already ahead of your projector set up. Most models run under $200 on Amazon.

Depending on how much you want to spend and how large a footprint your backyard can support I don’t think you can go wrong with any of the solutions outlined above. They’ll all hold up over time and will compliment any projection source you throw at it.

Do you have other suggestions or a backyard theater of your own? Let us know. Leave a comment below.

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