Turning your gazebo into an outdoor theater is a great way to entertain guests, whether it’s for an after-dinner party with adults or a sleepover for the kids. Using a few tools and gadgets that you may already have around the house, you can convert the gazebo into a movie-going experience for less than $100. Just make sure there is no rain in the forecast for your movie night so that your electronics and your guests can stay dry!
Selecting and setting up a screen
It would not be a true “theater” experience without a good-sized screen to watch the movies on. You can find 120-inch portable folding movie screens starting at about the $40 price range on Amazon. You may want to go larger or smaller than that depending on your budget and the size of your gazebo. Look for a screen that is easy to install, such as one with grommets, so all you have to do is nail in struts for the four corners. If you leave the struts in place you can easily take the screen down and put it back up when needed. Be sure to secure the bottom of the screen as well as the top, so that a breeze doesn’t interrupt the movie-watching experience.
Choosing a projector
Movie projectors are relatively inexpensive as well, depending on what device you want to view the movie from. Projectors that can show your movies in 16:9 at 1080p resolution start in the $40 range. You will want to purchase a projector that can match the size of your screen, however. You can find projectors with a variety of inputs to attach to the device that you plan to play movies from. Some of the more expensive projectors are even WiFi-enabled so you can stream the movie with no extra cables required. Otherwise, the easiest setup is to attach either an HDMI or USB cable from the projector to a laptop. You can run an extension cord from your house to the gazebo and run a single surge protector to handle the projector, your laptop and of course, the speakers.
Speakers for your outdoor movies
The speakers can either be a relatively inexpensive setup for your outdoor theater. If you just want to have the volume loud enough for everyone to hear the movie, a cheap set of wired or Bluetooth PC speakers can be found for as little as $10 at many retailers. For a fuller sound that hopefully won’t disturb the neighbors too much, you can invest in a full setup of streaming outdoor speakers and position them on either side of the gazebo.
Seating for the outdoor theater
How do you want to arrange the seating for your outdoor movies? If your gazebo has benches already installed, that may be sufficient. Some simple camp chairs or patio furniture can be added to increase the seating capacity. Just make sure that the projector is unobstructed. If you’re entertaining a smaller group, it might be worth the effort to move a couch from the living room to the gazebo.
Keeping guests comfortable
Since you will be watching a movie outdoors at night, you will want to think of every possible nuisance for your particular area. If you live in a region with mosquitoes, for example, you will want to light citronella candles and use insect repellent. If you have screens for the gazebo, it might be a good idea to install those before movie night. Keep blankets handy in case of an evening chill, or for that one guest who always falls asleep during every movie.
That’s all it takes to set up your gazebo for an outdoor theater experience. Other than that, select the movie, pop some popcorn for your guests and fill an ice chest for drinks!