BackCountry Blog

Happy Holidays from BackCountry!

On Dec. 9, our residents gathered at the Sundial House for our annual Holiday Happenings celebration! We had so many special guests this year, including Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus! BackCountry youngsters were delighted! Check out all the memories we made with Buddy the Elf and Santa below!

It was a gorgeous and uncharacteristically clear day on Saturday, Dec. 9. We had to take a few snaps of the incredible view!

As they awaited Santa, these little elves crafted and munched on seasonal snacks!

Buddy the Elf is here to help all our kids sing loud and clear! He encouraged all the little ones to show their best Christmas cheer! 

Residents rode in style around BackCountry (neigh)borhoods in our complimentary horse-drawn carriage!

Last stop: Sundial House! We mean, Santa’s Workshop! Of course!

Mrs. Claus reminds our residents to stay off the naughty list!

Santa met with some bashful, excited, and wonderful kids, including these three little helpers below.

Our Gingerbread House winners remained on display during the festivities! Talk about temptation!

Pile in! These little ones shared Santa’s attention so well. We think such amazing sibling work deserves three spots on the nice list this holiday season!

If you’ve already sent your letter to Santa, sometimes all you need is a big hug!

Buddy the Elf reminds us to celebrate Christmas every day by being cheerful all year long! Thanks to our incredible residents for joining us on Dec. 9. See you next year!

Home Hacks for the Holidays

Are you hoping for the perfect holiday this year? Shiny, ribboned gifts all arranged nicely around an elaborately decorated Christmas tree in an effortlessly clean home? Well-groomed children sitting quietly while the adults engage in intelligent conversation? Perfectly prepared food from scratch and elegant table settings?

Goooooood luck with that.

But never fear, your friends at BackCountry have some “hacks” (or suggestions) to help you make these next few weeks of December go a little more smoothly.

Hack Boredom

Forget the ugly sweater parties or the white elephant gift exchange. Shake it up this year and throw one of these unique-themed parties to get everyone excited to come over.

Hack Picky Eaters

Do you have a guest coming with dietary restrictions – insisting on paleo or vegan options? Here are recipes to help you prepare dishes that will ensure they can stuff themselves as much as everyone else at the table.

Hack Hanukkah

Remember, the holidays aren’t just about Christmas and Santa. Jewish families are observing Hanukkah and we’ve provided festive Hanukkah decorating ideas for every room!

Hack Kids’ Presents

If you have a large extended family and you’re expecting a lot of kids running around the house, you may be wondering how much it will cost to ensure every child ends up with a present. We found a list of 300 gifts for kids under $6 that will surely make your budget happy.

Hack Cabin Fever

Tired of having two or more families crammed under one roof? Send everyone out for a walk! BackCountry has plenty of beautiful trails with gorgeous mountain views. While you have everyone out of the house, you can clean up in the kitchen or get started on the next meal. Or take a much-needed nap.

Hack Leftovers

Once the holidays are over, the guests have gone, and the big clean-up starts, you may wonder what you’re going to do with all that leftover turkey. Never fear, we have you covered. Or you can create a leftover toast bar the morning after.

While we can’t guarantee you a perfect holiday experience, we hope these hacks will help you survive the chaotic festivities and get you through the holiday season unscathed. And as a reminder, if you haven’t already registered for our Gingerbread House Competition on Dec. 7, get on it!

This Holiday Season, GO ALL IN.

The holidays are a time of family, celebration, and cherished memories. However, these magical moments can also come with chaos, tantrums, and high expectations. But don’t let that bring you down. Instead of facing this time of year with dread – embrace it!

Yes! Be the crazy holiday person! Be the neighbor with the elaborate holiday decorations and light display in front of your house! Wear crazy holiday sweaters and matching socks to the office all month long! Organize Secret Santa gift exchanges, ugly sweater parties, and ornament-making projects! Be the person who makes this special time of year THAT much more special. The joy, laughter, and all-around merriment you get in return is worth every minute of effort.

And if you’re going to rally around the ho-ho-hos and the auld lang synes, you can start by attending BackCountry’s fun holiday-themed events. Dress up and bring your pro-holiday attitude!


Friday, December 1, 7-10pm, Sundial House

Get gussied up and bring your A-game for an evening of cocktails and casino tables! All attendees will receive chips to play with and, at the end of the night, prizes will be given out. More chips means more chances for prizes! RSVP not required.  


Thursday, December 7th, 7pm, Sundial House

Whip up a dream gingerbread house and bring it in for our competition. All ages are welcome to participate and you must register by December 1. Awards will be given out that evening and the houses can either be brought home for immediate consumption or left on display at the Sundial House for a whole week.


Saturday, December 9th, 9am-3pm, Sundial House

Even if there’s no snow on our trails, we’ll create our own winter wonderland at the Sundial House, complete with a visit from Santa! When you arrive, please pick up a number to see St. Nick, then enjoy the festivities. While there, enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride and play games with Buddy the Elf. Youngsters will be able to see Santa in numerical order based on arrival, so no need to worry about spending your whole day in line.

Cook Up Ideas For an Inspired Kitchen

Is the kitchen is the heart of your home? It’s that one room where we find comfort, creativity, and fellowship. And because you spend so much time in this room, it should both energize you and truly reflect who you are.

If you’re already a resident of BackCountry, your kitchen is already on point with its open layout, luxurious cabinetry, and granite countertops. But sometimes you want to add little extras to make your kitchen your own. Here are some recent kitchen trends to take your kitchen to the next level of awesomeness:

Don’t Be Afraid to Go Gray

If you’re bored by white cabinets, go for the newest look – gray. Gray cabinets, gray walls, gray wood, gray tile – the “gray” trend is holding strong and can give your kitchen area a more sophisticated look.

Pop with Unexpected Color

Sinks are also trending away from basic white. A colorful sink is a fantastic eye-catcher in an otherwise neutral kitchen. You can also match it to the tile in your backsplash.

Combine Farmhouse and Modern

Add a few farmhouse details into your contemporary kitchen; a rustic farm table, a piece of folk art, exposed beams, a bead board backsplash, or even a soapstone sink.

Create a Decorative Plate Wall

If you have a collection of beautiful plates to display but don’t want to invest in a dining room armoire, consider creating wall art instead.

Install a DIY Beverage Bar

You don’t have time to fix everyone’s personal beverages all day long, so either convert a little bit of counter space or an unused nook into a self-serve beverage station.

We hope these creative suggestions give you ideas on how to make your BackCountry kitchen’s personality match yours. We even created a kitchen-focused Pinterest board to give you even more inspiration. You can also regularly check our main BackCountry Pinterest page to keep up on all kinds of trends throughout the year.

If you’re not a BackCountry resident, we encourage you to explore the many model homes and their fantastic kitchens available right now. You can also sign up for our newsletter and receive the latest news and updates about the BackCountry community.

Start Fresh. Buy New.

Are you in the market for your next (or possibly your first) home? Congratulations! Buying a home is such an exciting venture, and your friends here at BackCountry want to help make sure the process goes as smoothly as possible.

Now that you’re ready to buy, the first step is to determine if you want a new home or a pre-owned one. While there are several differences between these two options, the benefits of owning a new home often outweigh buying an older home.

A few of the more obvious benefits are:

You Can Make It Your Own

When buying a new home, it’s easier to customize it to match your lifestyle. Select your own cabinets, countertops, appliances, flooring, and fixtures. You can even add special touches, such as larger closets, and French doors.

Everything Is Under Warranty

All of your appliances and products feature the latest designs and building materials and should last years before needing replacement. Pre-owned homes will most likely have appliances and units that need replacing soon after move-in.

Your Home is More Cost-Efficient

Today’s new homes are far more energy efficient than older homes that were built 5 or more years ago. In fact, most homes built today come with energy certifications covering walls, roofs, windows, doors, and even appliance packages.

Here are a few not-so-obvious benefits to think about:

It’s Easier to Entertain

Older homes tend to have smaller, distinct rooms, which can make it challenging to entertain guests. Today’s new home layouts feature more open-space floor plans and better flow. Throw in higher ceilings and additional windows, and that adds to the spaciousness.

You’ll Be Wired More Efficiently

Anyone who’s ever lived in an older home has dealt with the frustration of not having enough outlets to plug into. Today’s builders understand the need for connections for our TVs, DVRs, computers, charging stations, etc. so they structure the wiring to meet all of your electronic needs.

You’ll Have Access to Better Amenities

Many new homes are built in well-designed master-planned communities that offer resort-style clubhouses, hiking trails, and desirable neighborhood school options.

If you’re convinced that a new home is the right choice for you and your family, we invite you to visit BackCountry and discover the timeless home designs of Shea Homes.


The Shadow Walk Collection at BackCountry features six plans, including a ranch and two-story homes. Features include gourmet kitchens with large islands, flex living spaces, and three-bay garages.


The Water Dance Collection at BackCountry inspires modern and practical living with two-story plans. Each design maximizes living space with great rooms, gourmet kitchens, spectacular outdoor living, three- or four-bay garages, and a variety of options.


The Painted Sky Collection at BackCountry features three exceptional ranch homes. Each plan offers two warm and character-rich exterior elevations that contribute to curb appeal. Plans in this collection offer well-designed kitchens with eating bars, open-concept living, two-bay garages, patios, and basement finish options.

Get it Sold! Tips for Selling Your Old Home Faster

Are you ready to take the big step and move into a bigger/newer/better located home? While making a life-changing move like that can be exciting, it’s also one of the top stressors in life. One way to reduce that stress is to ensure that your current home is sold in a reasonable amount of time at a good price.

If you’re in an older home, say 20 to 30 years old, you may find a few challenges when you put it up for sale. While Denver is one of the country’s hottest real estate markets these days, it’s advisable to take a few extra steps to make your house more appealing.

The right price and location are always important, but shouldn’t be the only focus. You need to make an excellent first impression. Here are a few tips to help you make your home sale go as quickly and smoothly as possible.

Start off with the right price.

When deciding on how much to sell your house for, don’t think that you have to start high, see what you can get, and then come down on the price later if it doesn’t move. The first 30 days your house is on the market are always the best activity you’re going to see. Speak with your real estate agent and look at neighborhood comps for help.

Make a warm, welcoming first impression.

By the time a buyer walks through your door, perceptions of your home have already been made. Improve appeal by planting new flowers and shrubbery in the yard, replacing the mailbox, and placing a small table in the entryway with fresh-cut flowers or cookies. Seasonal decor is always a plus.

Light up your house.

A bright home always “shows” much better. Remove drapes, clean windows, increase the wattage in your light bulbs, and trim back large shrubs outside your windows. Good light is something almost every buyer mentions they want in their new home.

Lose the clutter.

You’ll want to remove all of your personal items, photos, sports team logos, pet toys, and religious paraphernalia before you start showing your home. This helps the buyers visualize living there. Keep walkways wide open and make sure all rooms are easy to pass through. Consider hiring a home stager to help arrange your furniture and décor in a way that complements your floor plan.

Take amazing photos.

Most people who come to visit your home found it online. And the better the photos, the more likely they’ll want to see your beautiful house in person. Instead of just taking quick cell phone shots, hire a professional photographer who knows how to showcase a home. The cost will pay off.

BackCountry New Homes Exterior Daybreak

Sell the lifestyle.

Your listing should show more than just photos of your house. Make sure you include photos of nearby amenities, dining options, local parks, and other attractions. It’s not about just living in your house; it’s about living in a whole new world.

Once your house is sold, where are you headed? If you are looking to move to a newer home, we suggest you visit the BackCountry community in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. With brand new homes crafted by premier homebuilders, you’ll easily find a house expressly created to fit your personality.

And remember, you’re not buying a new house. You’re buying into a new lifestyle. At BackCountry, you’ll find all sorts of places that bring people together, like an award-winning community clubhouse, a spectacular pool, and hiking/biking trails that connect to an open space conservation area.

Once you sell that older home, come see your potential future at BackCountry.

Make The Best Use Of That Extra Hour This November

On Sunday, November 5, we all get to sleep in an extra hour! Rest up, because there is so much going on this month – including the big feasting holiday… National Pizza Day on November 12! Plan accordingly.

A few of our favorite things about November are spruce and pine aromas, the crisp sound of crunchy leaves, and the brisk chill in the air. And BackCountry residents – we always look forward to your sparkly lights and decorations, signaling the arrival of the holiday season. We hope to see you at a few of the following events this month:


Saturday, November 11, 4-7pm, Sundial House

Residents: Support local businesses and get your holiday shopping done early! We have a fantastic list of vendors coming this year. Feel free to invite your friends and neighbors up to the Sundial House for an evening of shopping small! Indulge Wine Bar will be open.  


Friday, November 17, 5-7pm, Sundial House

Are you new to the neighborhood? We’d love to meet you! New Member Socials take place every 3rd Friday of every month. Enjoy a complimentary glass of wine, courtesy of Indulge Wine Bar, and meet CCMC staff and other new members. Current members are encouraged to come and welcome new folks as well.


Monday, November 20, 12-2pm, Sundial House

Kids are invited to join Gallery on the Go as we “rock” our art! Painters will take part in a growing trend by painting 8-10 rocks, then take a nature walk during which painters can leave their rocks. Or, they can take them home as keepsakes.


Friday, December 1, 7-10pm, Sundial House

Feeling lucky? Test your skills against your neighbors at a number of blackjack, craps and poker tables. We bet you’ll have a fun time!

Why You Should Relocate to Highlands Ranch

The U.S. Census recently came out with a report about why people move. According to the report, about half of the movers surveyed claimed that “housing” was the reason they relocated. This includes wanting a better neighborhood and house as well as wanting to own rather than rent.

The report also discovered that more than twice as many people move within their county as opposed to moving to another. Which means most moves stay pretty local. When they looked at the reasoning between these two groups, they found that people who move within their county are almost twice as likely to do so for housing-related reasons, while people who move out of their county do so more for family and jobs in addition to housing.

If you’re a Colorado resident ready to relocate within the state or even Douglas County, take a look at Highlands Ranch. This bedroom community boasts a low crime rate and connects residents to the busting Denver m

etro area while showcasing the beauty of the wild outdoors. Just last year, Money Magazine ranked it as one of the Best Places to Live in 2016, and for good reason. Off all the places they listed, Highlands Ranch is poised to add the most jobs over the next five years.

If you love Colorado, chances are you love the outdoors. One of the gems of the Highlands Ranch community is the BackCountry Wilderness Area, which offers 8,200 acres of conservation space. Visitors can enjoy the 26 miles of trails and sign up for various outdoor activities.

Right on the border of the wilderness area is the BackCountry luxury home community. Featuring a variety of homes, styles, and price ranges, BackCountry is an ideal relocation destination for Colorado living. Located in Highlands Ranch, residents have access to all of the local amenities, including 70+ miles of hiking and biking trails, neighborhood parks, and state-of-the-art recreation centers with everything from rock-climbing to in-line hockey to racquetball, swimming, basketball, and volleyball.

Within the BackCountry community, you’ll find winding trails leading to pocket parks and playgrounds. Our Sundial House, which is a luxurious, residents-only retreat, offers a pub, a fitness studio, spa treatment rooms, an outdoor amphitheater, and a resort-style pool. The Sundial House also guides you out to the neighboring BackCountry Wilderness Area for additional hiking and biking trails.

Run by a professional and highly efficient HOA, BackCountry has won accolades, including the prestigious “Community of the Year” by the Home Builders Association of Metro Denver and “Best Club House in the Country” for our Sundial House community facility.

Residents of BackCountry also have access to the Douglas County School District, with high marks in reading, math, and writing. And the ideal location, only twelve miles south of Denver, puts homeowners in the middle of everything, from the Highlands Ranch business parks to downtown Denver to the Rocky Mountains on the horizon.

When you live in BackCountry, every day is a choice between luxurious spa-like amenities and the back-to-nature thrill of exploring the great outdoors. It’s the ideal location in Colorado. And once you live here, you’ll understand what we mean when we say we’re “Wild At Heart.”

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.