Build The Perfect Outdoor Movie Theater In Your Nashville Backyard

Dated: 05/25/2018

Views: 866

by TJ Anderson

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Our first long summer/bbq weekend of 2018 got me thinking about backyard stuff — making better use of our space, and making our Nashville home more of an entertainer’s paradise. (Or at least an entertainer’s even-better place.)

That brought me back to something I wrote about on the blog earlier this month: outdoor movies in Nashville. I love going to those things, but I’m not always that in love with the chosen films.

Solution: creating an outdoor movie theater in the backyard.

Granted, I realize this is going to take a little work and involve a little bit of an investment, but the idea of sunset screenings where I can choose the movie and bring the snacks feels pretty perfect to me.

If you’re feeling inspired to create your own Nashville outdoor movie playground too, I’ll share some of my research. Below, the nuts and bolts of my backyard Nashville movie-theater plans.

PVC-and-sheets DIY movie screen

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HGTV, coming through with the good and easy ideas. What I particularly like about this DIY movie screen idea is that it’ll be cheap to do and I already have a bunch of the necessary materials in the garage. A few PVC pipes and some cement mix, and I’ll be ready to go. Using planters to anchor the thing offers the opportunity for added style, too. Head to for the instructions.

Caveat: I know we can buy an inflatable movie screen from Target or pick up a portable screen that’ll do the job at Home Depot. I just like DIY projects and making things look a little cooler.

Flexible outdoor seating

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I’m as particular about style with outdoor furniture as with indoor furniture, but if you’re planning on inviting a bunch of people over for movie night, it’s a good idea to have easy, flexible seating to spread out. And the best solutions, for my money: floor cushions, and inflatables.

On the cushion front, if you have a little cash to spend, a handful of these Urban Outfitters corduroy cushions will offer some floor comfort in a material that’ll stand up to a little outdoor use (2 for $79). On the cheap, H&M has small but serviceable cotton cushions that you can grab a bunch of to get the job done pretty stylishly (around $8 apiece).

People have been pretty high on inflatable air loungers of late — they kind of look like human-sized versions of those water snakes we used to play with as kids, and you give it a quick inflate, and tuck yourself inside. My favorite, for obvious reasons, are these Chillbo Baggins inflatable couches. A little pricey if you’re looking to help a big group for a movie night, but highly rated on the chill(bo) factor.

Tend to want a cozier experience? Get ridiculous with this inflatable sectional sofa (runs about $100) or snag a few of the Ultra Daybed Inflatable Lounges, pictured above… they look fantastically mod and ridiculous, and even have cup holders (about $50 apiece on Amazon).

The audio/video situation

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There are really cheap ways of going about getting video on a screen, and really expensive ways of doing it. I’m a you-get-what-you-pay-for guy, but for something I’ll be using outside, seasonally, I’m not looking for a perfect projector that runs for thousands of dollars. I figure we just need something that’s bright enough to work outside, with a reasonable picture and, ideally, integrated audio to de-complicate things.

For stuff like this, I turn to professional tech nerds at outlets like CNET and Popular Science. My digging landed on a lot of best-bang-for-buck claims for the Optoma - HD142X, running about $550, with a 10-watt integrated speaker. (CNET has a good review.)

If you’re looking to go way cheaper, I’ve seen good reviews of this Epson 660, which runs closer to $300. Had any great personal experiences with home cinema projectors? Love your input!

Nashville-made soda

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On the carbonated beverage front, if you haven’t yet checked out Nashville-made Matchless soda, you’re in for a surprising treat. It’s a cold coffee drink that isn’t bitter and is refreshing — add a little twist of orange rind to it, and you’re getting the full, flavorful experience. I’m not a big soda guy usually, but I absolutely love this stuff. It’s available through Nashville retailers all across the city, from Steadfast Coffee in Germantown to Woodland Wine Merchant in East Nashville.

Nashville-made popcorn

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If you end up in East Nashville for your coffee soda fix, Kernels Gourmet Popcorn right there in the neighborhood (2501B Gallatin Ave.) is worth a visit too. Especially if you’re a hot chicken fan, since their Nashville Hot Popcorn might be the best non-chicken type of “Nashville Hot” thing in town. If sweet’s more your thing, they have chocolate, caramel and lots of other options, too.

For the whiskey lovers: Try Prohibition Popcorn, also made in Nashville, with “a little bit of whiskey in every batch.”

Have your own backyard film forum in Nashville? I’d love to see photos/hear about your experience. Tag TJ Anderson Homes on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.

If you need a Nashville home before you start planning backyard projects, I’d be thrilled to help. Call or email TJ Anderson Homes, and tell me about your new-home wish list.

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TJ Anderson

TJ Anderson is a Nashville Realtor with Benchmark Realty who's helped countless clients both buy a home and sell a home in Nashville, Tennessee. He blogs about Nashville regularly, from Nashville-area....

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