BackCountry Blog

Model Home Spotlight – Indigo Mist

Residents of BackCountry are already familiar with Shea Homes and the way we redefine ”home” and help you find the perfect fit for your family. Anybody who has ever lived in a Shea home can truly attest to our tagline of “Live the Difference.”

If you are new to the Shea Homes community at BackCountry, you may want to start with our series of homes in the Painted Sky Collection, which features three exceptional ranch plans, starting in the upper $500s. Each plan offers two warm and character-rich exteriors elevations that contribute to an enticing curb appeal.  

One of our more popular designs in this collection is Indigo Mist. The hub of this home is the open-concept kitchen and great room where family and friends can come together. The great room offers access to both the quaint courtyard and patio allowing quality time outdoors.

Behind the kitchen, you’ll walk into the spacious master suite with a spa-like bathroom and two large walk-in closets. Toward the front of the house is a guest bedroom with full bath, a home office, and a powder room.

Visitors who walk through the covered front porch and entrance are greeted with a formal foyer, while residents have an additional entry with a coat closet from the two-bay garage. And if you’re looking for the ideal home theater space, you have the option to build out the basement with a media room, bar, and fireplace in addition to two bedrooms and a full bath.

We encourage you to learn more about Indigo Mist and other homes in the Painted Sky Collection. We even created an informative video featuring all of the wonderful selling points about our Indigo Mist design. Shea builds homes specifically designed to fit your personality, your lifestyle and your budget, and we hope that you find your dream dwelling here at BackCountry.

Stoke Your Halloween Spirit at BackCountry

Halloween is one of the most popular holidays of the year – mainly because it involves so much creativity in décor, costumes, and food. And who doesn’t love coming up with funny ideas or at least appreciating the creative efforts of their friends and neighbors?

If you plan on throwing a Halloween get-together with friends, BackCountry has you covered for festive Halloween “tricks.” Check out our Pinterest board we put together just for our residents! There, you’ll find all kinds of inspiration, like these Mason Jar Mummies – a fun arts and craft project for the kids. If you’re up for a spooky good time, blindfold your party participants and make them stick their hands in this “bowl of worms.” And if you’re a Star Wars fan, how amazing are these R2-D2 and C-3PO pumpkins?

If you’re in search of some yummy “treats,” we have you covered there, too. We’ve put together a recipe board that is perfect for parties or for just getting in the Halloween spirit. Don’t these Spider Web Pizza Snacks look scrumptious? (Okay, maybe “scrumptious” isn’t the best adjective for horror-themed food.) If you want to go for the ultimate zombie food – serve up brains. (Mmmmm…brains…) Even vegetarians can get in on the gruesome theme with this veggie tray masterpiece.

And of course, Halloween isn’t Halloween without costumes! We discovered lively ideas for family Halloween costumes, including this clever Addams Family suggestion. And if your kid is gunning to win the Fright Night Costume Contest at the Sundial House on October 27, try suggesting unique costumes, like a bag of Jelly Bellys, a kissing booth, or a bowl of pasta.


Kids can’t hog all the fun this holiday, so we also provided costume ideas for couples, like this Marge & Homer getup. If you’re going out with your girlfriends, you can easily pull off the Bachelor Contestant costume. And why not dress up your dog as a martini? Seriously, that would be a huge hit.

We hope these Halloween suggestions help make for a frightfully good night! Make sure you send us your Fright Night and trick-or-treat costume photos, or tag @backcountryco on Instagram! We look forward to seeing all of the crazy and creative ideas you come up with.

October Thrills at BackCountry!


October is such a fantastic time of year in Colorado. This month is all about fall color drives in the mountains, beer festivals around the state, and football games every weekend. And, of course, October ends on the right note with Halloween – the spookiest (and most awesome) of holidays.

Those of us at BackCountry are looking forward to the next few weeks of scary movies, haunted houses, fun costumes, and trick-or-treat candy. And we have a few spook-tacular suggestions to help our residents get the most out of the Halloween season for both kids and adults.


Tuesday, October 10, 12-2pm, Sundial House

Get in the Halloween party spirit with a painting party! Drop the kids off at the Sundial House for a fun afternoon in an instructor-led painting class. Cost is $17 per child and aprons and supplies are included. Residents: Register through ActiveNet by Friday, October 6.


Friday, October 13, 7pm, Sundial House

Residents, celebrate Friday the 13th by cackling with laughter! We’ll be showing the classic movie “Hocus Pocus” in the Community Room. Light snacks will be provided, as well as tasty cocktails. Wear your comfy clothes and get ready for witchy good fun!


Sunday, October 15, 12-3pm, McNichols Building

They put the “treat” in trick or treat! “Feast” is a celebration of Denver’s restaurant scene, one bite at a time. Head downtown and join a true feast for the senses, with dishes from more than 40 Denver restaurants, as well as beverage samplings and entertainment. Tickets are $25-$60.


Friday, October 27, 6pm, Sundial House

Head up to the Sundial House for some goosebump action! You’ll find fun for the whole family, including Halloween cocktails, kids’ games and activities, a haunted room, and costume contest for the young and young at heart.



Tuesday, October 31

BackCountry residents! Want to help make Halloween a treat for your neighbors? We need volunteers to open their garages and provide a hot drink or snack for trick-or-treaters during this evening. This is a lovely way to get to know your neighbors and see some adorable costumes. Please email Christa at by Friday, October 13th if you’re interested in hosting.

Yappy Hour – Summer 2017

Did you make it to Yappy Hour at the Sundial House pool? We loved celebrating the end of summer with these adorable pooches! Did your pup make an appearance in our recap? Check out the fun below!


Does Your Patio Need And Outdoor Kitchen?

One of the many special things about living in BackCountry is our outdoor patios. Colorado has one of the best climates around, including our famous 300 days of sunshine, so it makes sense to have your own personal space where you can enjoy that weather.

But, aside from comfy patio furniture, have you thought about enhancing your outdoor space? Some residents have decked out their patios with an outdoor kitchen, which is fun for entertaining on the weekends or for even preparing a romantic dinner underneath a beautiful sunset.


If the outdoor kitchen idea intrigues you, here are suggestions and pointers to get you started:


Deck it out

At the minimum, an outdoor kitchen space contains a grill and a counter area. The grill can be gas, electric, or charcoal – whatever works best for you. For optimum “kitchen” effect, you may want to install a sink and a small refrigerator. That will cut down on running between the grill and the indoor kitchen for water or supplies. If you have the budget, consider adding an icemaker, a built-in cooler, and/or a mini-dishwasher.


Protect your overhead

Having a roof over the cooking and preparing area helps to keep it clean of debris and prevents rain or snow from ruining your cookout plans.


Create plenty of elbow room

One of the biggest errors seen in many outdoor kitchens is not having enough counter space. Three feet of space should be your minimum. Also, think about placement. It’s a good idea to keep the cold appliances (refrigerator, ice) next to each other and away from the heat of the grill.


Light it up

Sometimes the late afternoon sun goes down faster than you anticipated, and no one wants to grill in the dark under the glow of a flashlight. Install a proper amount of lighting for those evening barbeques. It also helps to have a light over the sink. Installing a roof will give you a handy place to install light fixtures.


Learn your weather patterns

Do you get a lot of direct sunlight? You may need to position your roof so that the person at the grill isn’t overheated. Which direction does the wind usually blow? Consider that when you place your grill – think about where the wind will blow the smoke. And think about where the rain falls – you don’t want to create any moldy patches on the counters.


We hope these suggestions are helpful and help inspire you to create your own unique and homey environment on your patio! As always, double-check HOA rules before building. For more creative ideas for your outdoor spaces, check out the Pinterest page we put together just for our own BackCountry residents.

Fall into a Splendor of Color

Every autumn, the trees across our state go on full display with shimmering yellows, oranges, and reds. This is absolutely one of the most beautiful times of the year, and fall leaf peeping can make for a stunning day trip or weekend getaway.

The best time for capturing the change of seasons in Colorado is usually mid-September through mid-October. Here are some recommendations for fall foliage views as well as weekend getaways that put you close to the colorful scenery.



This road winds through Rocky Mountain National Park between Estes Park and Grand Lake. Trail Ridge Road, also known as Highway 34, offers views all the way up to 12,183 feet in elevation and provides an amazing vantage point for fall colors.


BackCountry residents can reach Trail Ridge Road up in Estes Park in about 2.5 hours from the BackCountry neighborhood. So plan on making a long day or an overnight excursion to visit this area.


If you are looking for a getaway weekend in the Rocky Mountain National Park area, The Stanley Hotel is located in the heart of Estes Park and comes with the unique history of inspiring Stephen King’s book The Shining. Situated near the entrance to the park, The Stanley is the ideal destination for a fall color mountain vacation.



The San Juan Mountains of Southwest Colorado offer some of the most breathtaking mountain views in our entire state. Every September and October, the San Juan Skyway is a vista through an incredible array of autumn colors, including a 70-mile stretch known as the Million Dollar Highway.  


The San Juan Mountains are located down in the southwest corner of Colorado, so it’s a bit of a drive for BackCountry residents. We recommend planning a long weekend getaway for this venture. You’ll discover much to see and do in this part of the state!


A lovely place to stay around the San Juan Mountains is the Blue Lake Ranch Bed and Breakfast near Durango. Set on 200 beautiful acres including a trout-filled lake, this ranch is ideal for nature lovers and fall color viewing.



Outside of Ridgway, Colorado, pick up Highway 62 over the Dallas Divide and take in breathtaking views of Mt. Sneffels and the array of deciduous colors surrounding Sneffels Wilderness Area. This epic drive connects with Highway 145 and Lizard Head Pass, where you’ll find views of Wilson Peak – the mountain that inspired the Coors logo.


Ridgway is about 5.5f hours from BackCountry, so you may want to make a weekend excursion out of this. Not too far from Lizard Head Pass is Dunton Hot Springs. This “romantic restored ghost town” features natural hot springs and is located in an extraordinary alpine valley. Take in the views from the comfort of an authentic 19th century log cabin or any of their eight luxury tents.


We hope these suggestions inspire you to break out your cameras and find your way to the many beautiful sights around our amazing state. Feel free to share any of your fall foliage photos with us – we love seeing the changing leaves, too!


Ever notice how once Labor Day weekend hits, everything turns into a new season? It’s as if summer shifts to fall the moment you realize it’s September. You change out the tank tops and shorts for jeans and layered sweaters. You go from rooting for the baseball team to cheering for the football team. And your weekend hiking adventures become fall color excursions.

But don’t mourn the end of summer – get excited about the new beginnings of the autumn season! And BackCountry residents have a lot to look forward to this month:


Saturday, September 9, 6pm

Party time! BackCountry is turning 10 this year – and we’re celebrating in a big way! Can you believe it’s already been a whole decade? The 10th Anniversary Party will feature a concert and activities for all ages. Stay tuned to the “Wild at Heart Weekly” for more details.


Saturday, September 16, 7-8:30pm, Sundial House

Bring the family up to the Sundial House for an evening of entertainment for all! The Jackman Brothers will have activities to keep the youngsters entertained while parents enjoy a drink at the pub with the neighbors. Register through ActiveNet to save time; walk-ups are welcome.

As this is not a drop-off activity for kids, parents must stick around at Sundial House during the event. But we bet you won’t want to leave the excellent company, gorgeous views, and tasty adult beverages anyway.


Thursday, September 21, 6pm, Sundial House

Join your fellow empty nesters for an evening of fun food and conversation at the Fall Potluck Dinner. Please bring a dish to share along with your favorite beverage. RSVP by Thursday, September 14.


Friday, September 22, Highlands Ranch Golf Club

Calling all golfers! Mark your calendars for a BackCountry community outing at the Highlands Ranch Golf Club. Keep an eye out in the “Wild at Heart Weekly” for registration information.

Start off fall with a fresh new look – for your home

Now that it’s back-to-school time and the kids are out of the house for a good portion of the day, it’s also time to look around and spruce up a room or two in your BackCountry home.

From minimizing your clutter to updating your style, we have suggestions to motivate you to shake things up and help freshen up your surroundings.

Simplify, simplify, simplify!

Do you dream of decluttering your home office, your pantry, or even your whole house? Make it happen by scheduling a decluttering day or a decluttering weekend. Designate one box or trash bag as “donations” and another container as “trash,” and start going through all the piles of clutter. For each item, determine if it goes in one of those two containers or gets moved to an appropriate place in the house.

If scheduling a whole day or weekend is not feasible, spend five minutes a day picking up five items and find places for them, whether it’s the trash, the donation box, or a closet shelf.

Give your room a new perspective

If your budget is minimal, start with simply rearranging furniture. Try facing the couch a different direction, or switch couches between rooms. Move your desk in front of the window, away from the wall. Start with larger pieces and then position the smaller accent furniture to balance out the new arrangement.

It also helps to see each room in a new light. Take down all of the wall art. Remove curtains, open the blinds, and look at everything in natural sunlight. Roll up rugs and see how everything looks with hardwood floors underneath. Basically, strip the room down and then build up from there.

Go for a complete transformation

If you’ve had the same furniture for a decade and you’re ready for something completely different, peruse catalogs and websites and get a feel for what’s in style in the world of home décor. Find a “look” you think would work well in your house and start honing in on colors and furniture pieces that fit that style. (FYI, it’s okay to mix colors and textures – not everything has to match perfectly!) Make a Pinterest board, or cut photos out of catalogs and create your own “vision” board. Then, set up online shopping alerts for items you want to buy.

Speaking of Pinterest, we’ve created boards for bedroom decorating as well as home office ideas. Feel free to peruse these for your own inspiration – you may find the perfect piece of furniture or color combination that will fully transform your space.

Turn old into new again

Once you’ve figured out your direction, start figuring out what needs to go and what can be refurbished. If your couch is in good shape, have it recovered instead of buying a new one. Maybe an old outdoor patio table could be sanded and restained for a breakfast nook. Instead of new wall art, a new paint color can really freshen up a room – just decide on furniture and fabrics before you pick the color.

Add life to your rooms

Breathe a little easier in your space with a few strategically placed houseplants. Succulent plants are an excellent choice for your BackCountry home – they are easy to care for and they like the warm, dry conditions found in Colorado homes.

One popular houseplant is the Jade Plant – it’s so easy to grow! This plant grows thick stems with plump, glossy green leaves tinged with red. The Snake Plant (it gets its name from the pattern on the leaves) can tolerate long periods without watering, so it’s ideal for the absent-minded gardener. If you need a taller plant for a room with a high ceiling, the Ponytail Palm grows up to 20 feet and also doesn’t require a lot of water.

Change is good for you

Whether you add a few houseplants and throw pillows or completely overhaul your entire house, changing your environment gives you control and creativity in your life and can positively affect your mood, attitude, and energy. “Out with the old, in with the new” can help you feel energized and motivated, especially if you’ve been stuck in a rut at work or in a relationship. So don’t think of it as rearranging furniture – think of it as rearranging and redirecting your energy.

Good luck with your new surroundings, and send us your before and after pics for our Instagram feed!

Welcome New Neighbors to Our Amazing Neighborhood

It’s deep into August, which is the busiest time of the year for relocating. Whether moving across town, across the country, or even moving from abroad, the act of picking up your entire life and readjusting to a new location can be very stressful. That’s why it’s always thoughtful to help out new neighbors who move into our BackCountry community. A simple, kind gesture can help reduce their stress!

So, besides waving at them from your driveway, here are ways to help welcome new neighbors to the community:

Put together a neighborhood cheat sheet.

Make a list of important, “good to know” information about our BackCountry neighborhood, like what day trash pickup is, fun things to do at the Sundial House, the best biking trails nearby, etc.

Create a welcome basket!

Get creative here. Pack up fresh vegetables, fruits, snacks, and sodas, though avoid baked goods, since you never know what allergies people have. Another idea is a basket of assorted cleaning supplies, since many people pack those up and may not have them handy when they first move in. And flowers are always a classy touch to help them spruce up their new digs.

Wrap up a bundle of takeout and delivery menus.

After an exhausting day of moving and unpacking, most people would rather order a pizza or quick takeout for dinner than cook. Make it easier for them to find what they can get delivered locally.

Put together a list of fun local recommendations.

Make a list of your favorite places to dine, shop, or go out for entertainment. If they have kids, make a list of places that are kid or family friendly.

Bring a bottle of vino.

Most people are very receptive to a bottle of wine or a six-pack of beer (make sure it’s Colorado craft beer!). Even if they don’t drink, they can always have it on hand for guests who do.

Organize a brunch or dinner.

At BackCountry, our houses are built to entertain! Invite the new neighbors (and old ones!) over to mingle. Have a cookout, make spaghetti, or even just enjoy cocktails. This allows you and your new neighbors to get to know each other better and find any common ground.

Remember, a friendly “hello!” is always a good ice breaker, too. Help the new neighbors feel welcome and they may repay your kindness with being a good neighbor back.

Your Back-to-School Survival Guide

Wait, school’s starting up? Yes, it’s that time of year! If living in Colorado has taught us anything, it’s that preparation is key to survival, and that includes preparing for the back-to-school madness.

So whether you’re getting the kiddos ready for elementary school or preparing a young adult for college, we have a few suggestions to help with the organization (and controlled-chaos) involved.

Dorm Room Décor

College isn’t just education, Mom! It’s a lifestyle. Duh. That’s why your incoming freshman or returning upperclassman needs to have the dorm décor du jour. We found the 12 “must have” items for every dorm room, as well as 20 ridiculously awesome dorm room essentials you can find on Amazon. To help preserve your sanity and your ongoing parent-child relationship, we’ve included 20 hacks and tips to help facilitate the big college move-in day.

Back-to-School Clothes Shopping

That walk down the locker-lined hallway isn’t just a reasonable route to get to class. It’s a bonafide fashion runway, making or breaking a student’s social standing (in every teenager’s mind). Make sure your angst-ridden fashionista is wearing the latest and greatest trends with this handy guide. And try not to be shocked that denim overalls are making a comeback. Every generation of teens has that one outfit or style they regret seeing in photos when they’re older.


Homework Assistance

There truly is an app for everything – even for helping kids with their homework. If sitting down and helping your teen figure out their complicated algebra problems makes your head hurt, direct them to PhotoMath, where they can scan a math problem and get assistance on how to solve it. If your kid has trouble staying on top of various assignments and deadlines, have them download the My Homework app, which helps them track assignments and sends them due date reminders.


Lunch Solutions

Remember when you were a kid? Homemade lunches were so easy. Two pieces of Wonder Bread, a salty slice of lunch meat, cheese, and mustard or mayo. Throw in a bag of chips and a Hostess treat – done!

Well, no longer. Lunches have evolved, just like everything else, and today’s school meals and snacks are about food allergies, preferences, and presentation. So we’ve done the research and found these sandwich-free (and peanut-free) lunch ideas. And don’t get us started on these banana sushi snack ideas – this treat isn’t just for students! For busy parents, here are 30 quick and easy school lunches to pack for your kids.

We hope these suggestions help de-stress your back-to-school prep this August. And as always, check out the Pinterest board we put together for BackCountry residents for organization ideas and suggestions to help the kids get in the back-to-school rhythm.