5 steps to the perfect garden cinema on a budget

I can’t think of anything more wonderful than an at home cinema…  no wait, an at home al fresco cinema tops it.  Throw in roasted marshmallows and some of your favourite people and you have the best socially distanced set up in town.  You might find yourself with a queue (I know I have – next up is ‘Mermaids and Mallows’ with Miss Carrie).  Here is a quick run down of everything you need to get started…

This is the Apeman mini projector, dubbed the best present I ever bought the husband.  The price fluctuates on Amazon but expect to pay around £70-£80.  Honestly I did not have high expectations but this little guy has blown us away.  It comes with an HDMI cable to connect to your laptop for online streaming but you could also plug in a USB if you had something preloaded or buy a connector cable for your phone (perhaps this is obvious but the USB phone charger cable will not work).  The speaker is brilliant, definitely adequate for home viewing parties and the picture is super crisp and BIG (depending how close you have the screen – my screen here is pretty small but the projector can easily fill my lounge wall).  Truly the only downside is that you need dusk/dark to get a decent picture…  but, for £70, that is no deal breaker for me.

The screen must be the easiest thing in the world to create yourself – I mean, honestly, a sheet on a washing line would likely do the trick.  But I have this beautiful vintage one which belonged to my Dad – I think he originally bought it in the early 70’s along with a projector to create footage when he went on safari so it holds a special place in my heart.  This is the exact one and there are a few available on Ebay if you happen to be local for a pick up but I also found this retro style Nobo screen online which looks really similar.

Maybe not exactly classed as an essential but if, like me, you happen to be setting up in a Scottish summer then a fire pit is almost a must – for warmth and midge repellant.  I have this one which is pretty basic but we love it.  And if you can get hold of some marshmallows and skewers then you are guaranteed bonus points from your cinema goers.

Blankets.  And cardigans.  And sheepskin slippers.  Give me all the cosy if I am sitting outside of an evening.  My favourite blanket ever is this wool, chunky hand knitted throw by Bluebellgray (and it happens to be on major sale right now).

To tell the truth, the projector alone in your garden is pretty sweet but if you want to up the ante then gather all the potted plants you have to hand, add candles, lanterns if you have them (mine are Lene Bjerre but these are really similar), hang fairy lights in the trees or even string some festoon lights overhead – I have my eye on these outdoor waterproof sets.

All that’s left is deciding who to invite…

P.S.  We are watching This Is Us, the best heart tugging, feel good family drama, and one of my all time favourite feel good, big screen movies, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.  If you need some inspiration please check out my ultimate list of binge worthy TV over here.

This post contains affiliate links and gifts



Apeman mini video projector – Amazon
screen – vintage (similar)
idbury fire pit – Garden Trading Co.
lyra rattan sofa – Made
chunky knit throw – Bluebellgray (ON SALE)
bamboo lanterns – Lene Bjerre
concrete rope side table – La Redoute
patio tiles – Dizzy Duck Designs (see here for the DIY)




cardigan – Ted Baker (ON SALE)
tank – H&M
button fly jeans – Boden (ON SALE)
Estée Lalonde long snake chain – Daisy Jewellery





  1. 10 Jul / 7:19 am

    That looks so fun! I love the fire pit too! They just relaxed the restrictions here to make them legal again (they aren’t allowed in droughts obviously, and we’ve been having quite a dry time!) and I’ve been tempted to get one but we don’t have a good place to put it – our neighbour makes good use of theirs occasionally though!

    Hope you have a nice weekend planned ahead of you! 🙂

    • Thankfifi
      10 Jul / 2:24 pm

      Of course, yes I imagine they’re quite the hazard in a drought. Not much chance of a drought in Scotland however… I reckon some outdoor festoon lights would be a really lovely alternative though. We are patiently awaiting sunshine and probably lighting the fire pit again tonight as we have some friends popping round for an outdoor catchup! Enjoy your weekend.x

  2. 5 Apr / 9:07 pm

    Ooohhhh this is so dreamy !!

    • Thankfifi
      6 Apr / 10:29 am

      thank you so much – so happy it’s the weather to get it outside again!

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