As hobbies go, this isn't a particularly stressful one. It does require some planning and coordination, after all, you're opening up your backyard to a party.
I'm going to discuss how I set up my theater. This isn't the only way to do it. In fact, there's a website devoted to backyard theaters, with a really active, helpful forum.
But this is what works for me.
Where are you going to put this thing?
Unfortunately, there are some environmental considerations that limit where you can set up your theater. It's not going to work to well if every time someone wants to get a drink, they have to walk in front of your projector.
We need a safe, little traveled area for the projector. We need the same thing for your screen. Depending on how you configure (front or rear projection), you'll also have to consider where people are going to be walking.
Also, because the projector needs a certain amount of distance function, you need to consider how much space you have.
Finally, there is your enemy, the sun.
A shady section of the yard is desirable. You don't need the projector to be in shade (but you might want to protect it from the elements), but the screen will benefit. Also look around at the lights in your yard. What is a nice, shaded section during the day may get the full blast of the municipal spotlights after the sun goes down.
A freestanding screen is going to have to be more engineered than hanging a screen from the side of a building. My own solution is to put the screen on the eastern side of my garage. The good is that the garage helps to shade my screen from the sun (so I can actually start a few minutes before sundown). The bad is that I'm now limited in where I can locate my projector.
What do you need to make it function?
How do you control it?"
My previous screens have always been cloth. This is a great material to make a screen out of because it's light and easy to manage. That means the structural requirements are easier.
My first screen consisted of a pvc tube, with a sheet folded over it. I ran a rope through the tube and tied it up to the roof of my garage. It was terrible, but it was mostly there.
What I learned a couple of things from this screen. Little wrinkles really weren't a big deal, but big folds were a real problem, especially if you were sitting way off center. Our yard was small, and we had people sitting more off center than I would have liked.
The fabric was so thin it let a lot of light through. And light has to go somewhere. In this case, it bounced off the grey wall behind it, and reflected back up on to the screen, which reduced the contrast on the screen. So one of my first upgrades was to make a black curtain that went behind the sheet.
Huge improvement! The contrast on screen jumped dramatically!
For 5 years we ran with a variant of the sheet on the stick. I built more elaborate frames to hold it, and mostly it worked very well. One of the benefits of this technique is that it's very portable. I could take it up and down, and it really didn't impact my yard. I once wrapped it all up and took it to the neighbors for a birthday party.
Year 6, we upgraded to blackout cloth. This is the same material you can buy for your windows, but I got it in an extremely wide version. Carls Place on Amazon sold me a huge screen for $69. I had to make a new frame that went above my garage to try to accomodate it. In the end, I feel like this screen really was too big.
The disadvantage of the blackout cloth is that you have to handle it carefully. It takes creases if you fold it, so it's best if your roll it up, but now you have a twelve foot roll of fabric you need to find a home for. And you can't wash blackout cloth.
But I didn't need a second black screen behind it. which made it easier to put up.
This year, our 7th, we've moved to Texas. In true Texas fashion, I have a considerably larger yard, and I've built myself a permanent screen. It's 8 feet x 12 feet, which is the easy size to attain from 3 4'x8' plywood sheets. I used 1/4" ply, because I was concerned about the weight. I wish I had used 1/2" ply, because I think it would have been more stable, but right now this is fine.