Canopy Fail, Cinema Success

On April 4th I asked you, dear reader, to “check back soon for posts on building raised garden beds and installing a backyard shade canopy!”  Well, I delivered on the garden beds… and never mentioned the canopy again.

Backyard Shade Canopy

IKEA’s DYNING canopy seemed like a great solution for our sun-scorched backyard.  The width was perfect and installing the anchors into the back wall of our garage went easily enough.

IKEA DYNING Installation

We needed something freestanding to hold up the triangular canopy’s apex.  I inserted a screw eye into a wooden closet rod, which was supported by both a patio table and a heavy patio umbrella base.  Seemed sufficiently sturdy.  But there are no pictures because, within ten seconds, a gust of wind caught the canopy like a sail, pulled over the table and cracked the wooden pole like it was nothin’.  GAME OVER.

I then understood why The Brick House used steel plates and masonry bolts and concrete holes and huge metal poles for her shade sail.  I wasn’t willing to go that route, so the anchors hung unused until my coworker loaned me a desktop projector for something far more awesome than a canopy: a backyard movie night.

Movie Candy

Curtain Clip

I used curtain clip rings to hold up a plain white sheet and weighted it down with some bricks.

Backyard Movie Night

Doesn’t look fancy but the screen worked perfectly – the picture quality was great once night fell.

Backyard Movie Night

It was a Rushmore/Willy Wonka doubleheader.  The saturated colors, direct dialogue and minimal cussing of Rushmore worked well for this forum.  I had considered The Big Lebowski but nixed it due to the ferocity of expletives and the nearness of our neighbors. Also out of consideration for our neighbors, we lowered the volume on Willy Wonka and just had it playing in the background while people hung out and talked.

Two other tips, if you want to try this at home:

  • Be sure to bring out your loudest speakers. We went through two sound docks, which were too quiet, before hauling out our bookshelf stereo system.
  • No one over the age of 25 wants to sit on the ground. Haul out all your chairs.


Willy Wonka

Side note: I divulged my blog’s URL at a department happy hour on Friday.  Hello to any new coworker readers!  Want to come over for a backyard movie night?  We can watch Ghostbusters.  And, thanks again to Teana for the projector loan.  (Please note: I typed this post on Sunday and scheduled its publication for Monday.  I swear.)

Backyard Movie Night

10 thoughts on “Canopy Fail, Cinema Success

  1. “The secret, I don’t know… I guess you’ve just gotta find something you love to do and then… do it for the rest of your life. For me, it’s going to Rushmore.” great idea, great movie pick. way to make a fail into a summertime success!

  2. Oooh wow – I’m so delighted to see this – we’ve wanted an outdoor screen since we went to Spain last year and rented a villa with one – but I always assumed it would be impossible in our tiny garden. Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. I’m over 25 but would happily have sat on the ground to watch Willy Wonka and Rushmore on that screen. It looks really lovely and atmospheric! I would also like to thank for the inspiration – I’ve had plans to do something similar on my boat, but thought it was unrealistic. You’ve got me thinking again!

  4. Isn’t it humbling when some of our greatest inspiration are borne from utter failures. I am glad you came to the idea of an outdoor cinema. There is a 7 year old girl at my church that ticked off a laundry list of adventures she wanted to complete this last summer and an outdoor cinema was the only one she failed to achieve. I think i might try when the weather turns warm again. i will reference your directions when the time is right.

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