Turn Your Backyard into an Outdoor Movie Theater

My Garden Life
June 7, 2019
Table of Contents

Maybe it’s nostalgia for the mid-century drive-in movie experience. Maybe it’s part of the trend for doing as much as possible al fresco. But whatever the reason, more and more people are taking their movie watching outdoors. Big cities and small towns offer movie nights in public parks and squares. Cruise ships present cinema under the stars on their upper decks. And gardeners are starting to eye their backyards as potential sites for home movie theaters.

It can be as simple as a sheet hung against an outside wall or hedge or as complicated as a wired, weatherproof outdoor entertainment system. Whatever you choose for your home open-air cinema, here are some ideas for making the space as unique and inviting as possible:

Consider Your Seating Area

If you’re planning on sitting on the ground for your movie showings, remember to choose a variety of grass that holds up well under heavy use and keep your lawn well-maintained. No one wants to watch a movie sitting in the dirt, so if you expect a steady schedule of movie viewing you might consider keeping some logs or straw bales around to provide impromptu seating if you run short of chairs. Make sure to have adequate outdoor lighting as well, so that when the flick is finished, your viewers can get safely back inside.
Consider Your Outdoor Movie Seating Area

Choose Plants with Fragrant Flowers

When choosing your plantings for the containers or beds round your al fresco films, remember, movies happen after dark, so no one is going to notice showy blooms and green foliage. Try instead for plants that release their fragrance at night, surprising and delighting your audience with subtle floral scents. Here are a few fragrant flowers you’ll want to try:

Choose Plants with Fragrant Flowers_Petunia, Stock, Jasmine, Nicotiana

Select Plants with Silvery Leaves

Add a glow to the area around your viewing space with plants that have silvery foliage. They’ll reflect just enough light to be visible within the landscape. Keep in mind that light, pastel or white containers will have the same effect – especially when placed near small solar garden lights. Some silvery plant selections to grow are:

Plants with Silvery Leaves_Dusty Miller, Lambs' Ear, Blue Fescue, Artemisia

Grow Your Own Movie Snacks

And while you’re planting, how about including in your outdoor theater space some homegrown snacks? Think of it as nature’s concession stand. Popcorn is cultivated exactly like sweet corn and can even thrive in containers, four to a 12-inch (30.5 centimeter) pot. Or place sugar snap peas on trellises in plots or containers and let your guests pick their healthy snacks right off the vine on the way to their seats.
Grow Your Own Movie Snacks
Hollywood’s not the only place you can watch a movie along with the stars. Hold your next family movie night premiere under the stars in your own outdoor theater. Have you created an outdoor movie theater in your backyard? Share your best tips in the comments below.
Outdoor movie screen

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