Creating an outdoor cinema in your garden or backyard offers a magical way to enjoy films under the stars, making the most of the warmer months. Here are comprehensive tips on how to transform your outdoor space into a comfortable and enchanting cinema setting.

1. Choosing the Right Space

First, select a suitable area in your garden that is relatively flat and offers enough space to set up a screen and seating. You’ll want an area that minimises light pollution to enhance screen visibility. If you have a pergola or a similar structure, it could serve as a perfect canopy to shield viewers from light drizzles or dew.

2. Setting Up the Screen

The screen is the focal point of your outdoor cinema. You have several options:

Inflatable Screens: These are portable, easy to set up, and provide a large viewing surface. Make sure the screen is securely anchored to avoid movement.

DIY Screens: A white sheet or blackout cloth can be stretched and secured over a flat surface. Ensure it’s wrinkle-free to avoid any viewing disruptions.

Portable Projector Screens: These are straightforward and professional options but can be more expensive.

Position the screen away from street lights and direct home lighting. The orientation should be considered so that viewers don’t have to look into the setting sun in the evening hours.

3. Choosing a Projector and Sound System

The projector should have suitable lumens (brightness) for outdoor viewing—ideally 3,000 lumens or more. Connectivity is also key; ensure it can connect easily with your video source, whether it’s a laptop, DVD player, or streaming device via HDMI or wireless network.

Sound is equally important to create an immersive experience. Outdoor speakers should be robust enough to offer clear audio in an open space. Consider wireless or Bluetooth speakers that can connect with your projector, placed evenly on either side of the viewing area to enhance sound distribution.

4. Comfortable Seating

Comfort is crucial for enjoying any film. Options include:

Bean Bags and Cushions: Soft, flexible, and perfect for lounging, they can be arranged on the ground on a large blanket.

Deck Chairs and Recliners: Provide more structured seating. Make sure they are padded or offer cushions for extra comfort.

Outdoor Sofas and Sectionals: Ideal for a more permanent setup, offering the comfort of indoor seating outdoors.

Arrange seating in tiers or in a semi-circle around the screen for optimal viewing. Ensure there’s enough space to move around without obstructing the view.

5. Lighting and Ambience

Subtle lighting can greatly enhance the ambiance without interfering with the screen. Consider these options:

Fairy Lights: String them overhead or around the perimeter of the viewing area.

Pathway Lights: Use them to illuminate the way to the cinema area without casting light towards the screen.

Lanterns and Candles: These can provide soft light and add to the aesthetic. If using candles, ensure they are in safe holders to prevent any fire hazard.

6. Snacks and Refreshments

No movie is complete without snacks. Set up a snack bar in a corner of your cinema space with options like popcorn, nachos, and soft drinks. Consider a small fridge or cooler for cold beverages. Ensure there’s a bin for easy cleanup.

7. Weather Considerations

The UK weather can be unpredictable. Have some blankets on hand for chilly evenings. Consider a backup plan, such as a gazebo or a quick way to move things indoors in case of sudden rain.

8. Safety and Practicalities

Ensure all electrical connections are safe and use outdoor extension leads. Keep wires and cables neatly tucked away to prevent tripping.


An outdoor cinema can be a delightful addition to your home entertainment options. With careful planning and attention to comfort, you can create a memorable and cozy movie-watching environment right in your backyard. This setup not only provides a personal retreat but could also be a centrepiece for social gatherings, offering a unique way to entertain guests.


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