Lights, camera…patio

Taking its lead from cities like Sydney and Barcelona, London has, during the past few summers, started to display a penchant for outdoor cinema screenings. Boutique companies have been booking up the capital’s green spaces and rooftops like nobody’s business in order to screen everything from vintage classics like Casablanca to more recent Oscar flirts like La La Land. Accompanied by (rather expensive) food truck grub and jugs of Pimms, it makes for a rather unique night out.

What is it about watching a good flick under the stars? Does it lend an air of romanticism that your local multiplex just can’t quite achieve? Perhaps. Whatever it is, we love it. And it’s got us wishing we lived just a bit closer to one of these major cities that put on such events.

Then lo! We had a brainwave. What if we could create an outdoor cinema space in the comfort of our own garden? While it sounds like a mission and a half, we looked into it and it’s actually not all that complicated. And when you think about just how much your children will adore the concept, and imagine magical date nights under the stars watching your favourite film snuggled up under a blanket clutching a flute of Prosecco, it sounds oh-so worth it.

Photo courtesy of Fresh Design Pedia

So here we are: our guide to building an outdoor cinema to make your family’s summer a truly special one.

What you need…

  1. A projector. You can buy one from Projector Point but you can also rent them by the day from around £50 (try
  1. Speakers. Sound is important so think carefully about this one. You don’t want underpowered music or muffled dialogue to ruin things, so you’ll need decent speakers. Stereo speakers or even computer speakers are fine.
  1. A screen. A bed sheet won’t do for a screen as it doesn’t reflect light, so either rent a proper projector screen, borrow one or buy one cheaply on eBay (old slide screens are perfect).

Photo courtesy of Chloe Rose Boutique Tumblr

Where should you set it up?

We’d recommend a sheltered area (wind and outdoor screenings don’t really mix) with a nice, large wall to set the screen against (although most are free-standing). Place your speakers under your screen, point the projector towards it, turn everything on – and there you have it. Choose a decent film, pop some corn and settle in for the best summer idea you’ve had in years.

Photo courtesy of

Banner image: Courtesy of John Lewis

Kathryn Bellamy


Farmer’s daughter turned Londoner, writer and interiors lover Kathryn lives in Battersea with her boyfriend and chilli plants. When she’s not writing or re-decorating, she’s working on a series of children's books. At the weekends she regularly swaps London for Devon or Herefordshire.

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