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One of the things we wanted to do with a tax refund if we got it was improve on the patio space and up our outdoor movie night game. We LOVE movie nights and since we live in Phoenix we spend lots of time outdoors. Having a great outdoor space also makes it feel like the home is bigger because we are more spread out (bonus). We had a few other things we needed to take care of before I could get to the outdoor space so it was important to me to realize maximize the funds I did have!
I gave some tips on stretching your refund a few weeks ago. We needed to get another phone and discovered that Walmart has a Family Mobile Plus Plan with Unlimited Talk, Text, & Data (which includes up to 10GB of 4G LTE then 2G) PLUS a free VUDU movie credit every month ($7 value) per line for $49.88! This is such a great value for us because we love using a phone to look up movies, actors and fun info throughout the day when we’re driving and questions come up in conversation. If you’re not familiar with Walmart Family Mobile, it’s SO simple to start up. We just bought a Samsung Galaxy On5 (for only $69 on Rollback) but you can pick any phone or Bring Your Own, and get your SIM Kit for only $19.88 which is all you need to start (no activation fees). They bill you later so the phone and the SIM kit is all you need to purchase up front. We especially love that free monthly movie credit (a $7 value – the same as a new release rental)!
So how do you create the perfect outdoor movie night space on a more limited budget? There are several ways! We used to set up a projector and project movies onto a bed sheet attached to a stand. This is great and a really fun way to watch movies, but not feasible to pull out and set up EVERY week. We wanted something more permanent. With the extra money we bought a new cheaper tv for inside and moved our older one outside! TV mounts are relatively inexpensive and the perfect way to keep a tv up and off the ground outside.
TV covers are simple to use and keep them protected from any extra elements the patio might not be able to. I added a few new pillows to the seating outside, twinkle lights and a patio heater and we couldn’t be happier. We’ve already used this space SO much for watching movies together or with friends! We have lots of different seating including pool lounge chairs, love seats and are even thinking of picking up some foldable hammock stands so you can watch a movie in a hammock – how cool would that be?! Here are all of the tips I’ve picked up since working on perfecting this space.
How to create an outdoor media space:
- Mount a tv to a wall under the backyard patio. Choose a corner/wall that is easily viewable and protected from the elements.
- If you don’t have an outdoor tv, get a tv cover (make sure to measure the overall dimensions of your tv before ordering, don’t just go by the screen dimensions).
- Seating – lounge chairs, love seats, bean bags, pool floats and hammocks all make great outdoor movie seating!
- Bugs – I like to light lanterns with bug repelling oil around the perimeter of the patio to minimize the bugs. This is actually one big reason I wanted to pull our movie space up on the patio instead of in the grass. It’s easier to keep the bugs away on the patio than in the middle of the yard!
- Ambiance – if it’s chilly you can have a little fire pit or string some lights around the patio. This helps everyone see if they need to get up and down as well as make a fun movie night atmosphere!
- Add a ROKU®, Chromecast® or VUDU Spark™ if you don’t have a Smart Tv.
How to have a fun movie night party:
- Get your outdoor movie night space ready with comfy pillows, lights and the perfect spot for everyone to sit.
- Choose a movie. We love to use our free monthly movie credit (a $7 value – the same as a new release rental) from VUDU and Walmart Family Mobile for movie nights.
- Print out this sign, place it in a frame and display for the guests so they remember it’s movie night.
- Prepare the snacks. Popcorn is always a must around here. We love having individual popcorn containers!
- Have food ready for longer movies or marathons! One of my boys’ favorite dinners to eat while watching a movie (since they were toddlers) is a “snack tray” or a kid friendly charcuterie tray. They love to help put these together and have gotten quite good at it over the years! If you have toddlers, muffin tins work great at separating snacks. We use things like pretzels, crackers, pickles, olives, meat, fruit, dried fruit, veggies etc. If your kids love the big blocks of cheese (mine prefer Colby Jack) this type of cutter works great for making cubes and allows the older kids to help!
I’d say turn off electronics and enjoy but we keep our phones out to answer the inevitable question that will come up while watching the movie 😉
Have you ever watched movies outside? Even after doing it so many times, there’s still something special about it to me!
Disclaimer: All prices for phones and plans included in this post are accurate as of the date of posting; however, these prices are subject to change. Please refer to http://cbi.as/7e-jr or your local Walmart for current pricing.