5 Outdoor Home Theater Ideas

Winter will soon be over, and it will be getting warmer outside. Soon, you will be flipping hamburgers and be doing cannonballs in the pool. As much fun as that sounds, charred meats, and party suggestions won’t necessarily entertain guests. That’s why you need to be considering an outdoor theater.

An outdoor theater will make you the hottest person on the block. That is because it lets you and your guests watch films, the big game as well as the many incarnations of CSI, all under the stars.

Throwing a picture up on the side of the house or the garage door may work in a pinch. However, having a real setup is not only more impressive, but it’s also insanely easy. In fact, the internet is exploding with outdoor home theater ideas. (In fact, there’s an entire Backyard Theater site with examples and an online forum.)

Nature shares so much with you; why won’t you extend the same courtesy? Let’s take a peek at five home theater thoughts you can take outside.


A Screen
Plenty of outdoor home theater ideas out there involve blow-up displays and bed sheets. However, Elite Screens makes a crazy quantity of projections screens–and lots of those are designed for outdoor use. The company has pop-up displays, fold-out screens and lots of versions specifically catering to the DIYer. One of these is the DIY Screen Pro (pictured). That may sound contradicting, but this model packs all kinds of fancy perks into a DIY solution. It has black masking borders for better contrast, a textured surface to decrease hot-spotting, and a DynaWhite 1.1 gain matte white material.

For More Information: Elite Screens
While no projectors are made to live outside, there are plenty of alternatives worth toting back and forth. The pictured Epson 85HD MovieMate is not the latest or greatest, but it is pretty darn perfect for outdoor use. That is because it combines a 720p image and 2500 lumens of white brightness, using a built-in DVD player and two speakers which could support Dolby Digital and DTS sound. Just plug, load and play. For something slightly better, the Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 3500 pumps that picture up to 1080p but drops the DVD player.

MSRP: $829 to $1,599.99


Some Audio

Just because your high school stereo setup is collecting dust in the back of the garage doesn’t make it ideal for a backyard theatre. Outdoor audio is not something you need to skimp on. After all, you’re not just going to be competing with crowd chatter, but also traffic, neighbors, chirping crickets, and other outside sounds. A set of outdoor speakers is something which could live outside, so you will not be carrying it in and out each time you want to watch a movie. However, you could also buy quality Bluetooth speakers or even a soundbar. We suggest checking out Sonos (pictured), which is portable enough to place outdoors, but also loud enough to crank movie night for the entire neighborhood.

MSRP: $199 to $699
For More Information: Sonos

While it may seem cozy to have everybody snuggle up on blankets, sitting cold or damp ground gets uncomfortable real fast. Think about putting out decent seating for your guests. Wayfair sells a ton of cushy outdoor seating options, including the pictured Beliani Grande 8-piece set. If the seating can’t be a permanent fixture, make sure that you get something that’s easy to move–and store. Of course, you may even go the DIY route. Not only a Housewife includes a cool tutorial on how to create your outdoor movie theater seats.

MSRP: Pricing changes
For More Information: Wayfair

Lights Camera Action!

Because you’ll want to wait until dusk to fire up a movie, hen the show is finished, it’s going to be dark–and potentially frightening. Consider some type of automated lighting to guide guests away from the pool, towards the house, or even out to the driveway. The Philips color can light up the area and even add some coloured effects into your pre- or post-show gathering. However, you will have to set up those bulbs in covered areas, because they aren’t made to live outside. GE’s Link PAR38 bulb does not have color, but is somewhat more durable and rated for outdoor use. Just know you will need the $50 Wink Hub or the $300 Wink Relay to control the bulb over your house’s WiFi network.

Lastly, should you be looking for a mobile home theater solution, there really is no substitute for a great blue-ray player, but if you are going the streaming route, then you need a cheap, portable laptop with decent multimedia capability

For more ideas and cool product to use for your outdoor home theater system, check out our outdoor projector guide.

Good luck!