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Break out the popcorn and watch movies in your backyard

As summer begins and we spend more and more time outdoors, sheltering or not, there are few more pleasant places to spend a summer evening than your backyard. So how about watching movies out there and creating your own outdoor home theater?

Family Handyman's T. Lacoma says all you need is the spark to do it and the right equipment and setup, citing everything necessary for a movie night out on your own lawn. The first thing you'll need, of course, is a home projector, since you probably have no desire to drag your big screen TV out into your backyard. "For a real movie night outdoors, you need a portable projector, says Lacoma. "Fortunately, there are many home projectors available these days at a variety of prices. Pay close attention to the lumens (how bright the projector is) and the resolution at the desired range. You will also want to make sure that your projector can handle your content format (Blu-ray, external hard drive, HDMI connection, etc.). Don't rush this purchase."

Next is to figure out where you will project your movie. If you'd like to get a bit more cutting edge than tacking a sheet up on your fence or wall (which is prone to be affected by the slightest breeze, wreaking havoc with the picture), consider (1) building a screen frame with PVC pipe (2) buying an outdoor screen that comes with its own firm stand, or (3) renting an inflatable screen.

Gotta have good sound out there. "A basic soundbar is relatively easy to move out and hook up to a projector if it is compatible and if you have one on hand," says Lacoma. "If you have a Bluetooth speaker, you may be able to connect it to your projector as well, depending on capabilities. Or consider buying a durable, affordable speaker seat (a three-piece set is usually sufficient) that you can bring out as needed. This is also a good time to explore any local or HOA regulations on noise levels and backyard sound, just in case your DIY backyard movie theater needs a few tweaks."

How about those theater seats? Choose an area for everyone to sit and then consider a few blankets on the grass for smaller gatherings or folding chairs for larger ones. "An ideal solution, if possible, is to have people sit on the deck or patio and position the screen out in the lawn (house lights must be turned off)," says Lacoma. "Remember to include extra blankets and cushions for maximum comfort, and use materials that are OK to get damp or a little dirty."

Snacks are a given but no need to get fancy. Use bowls and cups when possible to help avoid making a mess, and focus on foods that are easy to eat without getting your hands too dirty or requiring a lot of silverware. Of course, popcorn is ideal for this, but also consider providing an outdoor drink dispenser for larger theater-going crowds. Be sure to provide bug repellant or station citronella candles around the theater area.

Not every night is an outdoor movie night. The skies will determine whether to make this a reality. So choose a calm, warm night by keeping an eye on the weather forecast. A bit of a chill is okay if you are providing blankets to drape over your guests. Lacoma ends with, "The nice thing about an outdoor movie at your house is that you can always move it indoors if it starts raining, but it's better to find the right evening first."

Source: FamilyHandyMan | TBWS

Family, Misc