BackCountry Blog

Go Big for Your Summer Shindig!

Summer is (almost) here! The sun is shining, the flowers are blooming and you have this huge space right behind your house that is dying to be put to use. Well, take advantage of Colorado’s awesome weather and your green grass lawn and throw a fabulous summer shindig!

Whether you’re inviting neighbors, friends, frenemies, or family, don’t just default to a traditional BBQ. It’s your party, make it as special and creative as you are. Need some ideas? Your friends at BackCountry are here to help you out.

Backyard Summer Games

Bring that international competitive spirit to your own backyard, medals optional. Swing for a hole-in-one on this DIY Mini Golf Course, or grab a few bottles of spray paint and practice some interesting yoga-like positions on a Lawn Twister board. (It’s always a good idea to stretch first!) If you have a bunch of angsty teens coming over, keep them off their cell phones with this real life DIY Angry Birds game. And if it’s going to be a hot one outside, cool off with a round of Water Balloon Baseball.

Backyard Beach Party

Why go to the beach when you can bring the beach to your own backyard? It’s easier than you think. First of all, you can cover up your fence with a few of these super-cheap shower curtains to optimize your view. You can also pick up some beach balls or make your own from foam and felt. Cool things off with this homemade snow cone recipe or these vegan blueberry coconut popsicles. Yum! And while you don’t want to necessarily build sand castles out of the dirt in your yard, you can create edible sand art instead!

Vintage Garden Party

If you’ve toiled in the soil and have a fabulous garden to show for it, this is the perfect setting for a vintage garden party! Set the mood with some soft glowing lighting and decorate your table with mason jars, mismatched plates, and a few vintage-inspired pieces. Bring a little extra ambiance with these DIY candle stakes and add a birdcage to the mix. Put these all together and it’ll transform your garden into a vintage wonderland.

Bohemian Backyard Dinner Party

If you have a love of intimate gatherings, consider bringing a small group together for a unique outdoor dinner party. Create a low dining table with a long piece of wood balanced on wooden crates. Drape it with a lovely handmade tablecloth. Guests can sit on the ground, on top of fabric and/or faux fur pillows. Cover your table with fresh flowers mixed with dry ones and stack vintage plates at each table setting. Start off the festivities with a cheese charcuterie, followed by a family-style feast. And create a signature drink for the evening, something along the lines of a blood-orange margarita or a lavender gin and tonic.

Are you ready to throw a backyard shindig? If you do, please take photos and show off your creative party style! Don’t forget to tag @BackCountryCO. And if your backyard isn’t in party mode, you can always host an event at the Sundial House. Enjoy your summer!


Our Amenities Get You Moving

BackCountry is more than just a place to live — it’s a lifestyle. Every day is a choice between luxurious spa-like amenities and the back-to-nature thrill of exploring the great outdoors. And now that warm weather is here, you have all kinds of ways to get out of the house and take in the sunny Colorado weather.

The Sundial House

Our Sundial House is your own private lodge, offering panoramic views of Denver and the Rocky Mountains. Here, get in summer shape with fitness classes and spa treatment rooms. This luxurious retreat also features a pub where you can meet up with your neighbors, an outdoor amphitheater featuring live music, and a spectacular resort-style pool that opens on Memorial Day this year.

Parks and Trails

Colorado is all about the outdoor lifestyle, so we have plenty of trails, parks, and open spaces threaded throughout our community. Any time you want to just “get outside,” you can open your door and bike, hike, or run your way to a fun-filled day.

Backcountry Wilderness Area

One of the biggest perks to living at BackCountry is accessibility to the Backcountry Wilderness Area, right in your own backyard. This wilderness area features 8,200 acres of serene conservation space, including 26 miles of trails.

The Backcountry Wilderness Area serves not only as wildlife preservation, but also offers educational activities for children and adults. Every year, they hold hayrides, horseback rides, outdoor camps, and family-focused events. You’ll discover so many ways for you and your family to reconnect with the natural world there.

Once you become a BackCountry resident, you’ll have every opportunity to get outdoors, stretch your legs, and enjoy these many wonderful amenities. From lazy days by the pool to adventurous mornings out on the Backcountry trails, you’ll find plenty of amenities and activities to appeal to any taste. We hope to see you out and about soon! 


Denver has the Cure for the Summertime Blues

People may think of Denver as a winter vacation stop-over on the way to Colorado’s ski resorts. However, any local can tell you that summer is our best-kept secret. Sure, our summers are hot, but while most of the country is wallowing in sweat-inducing humidity, we have more of a “dry heat” on our radar every year. As long as we have shade, sunscreen, and cold Colorado craft beer, we’re good. Every summer, you’ll find us heading outdoors to the mountains, festivals, or rooftop patios in droves, soaking up the sunshine and beautiful views.

If you’re new to Denver, or if you have friends/family coming to visit, here are a few handy suggestions to get the most out of our summer-friendly city.

Red Rocks Amphitheater

If you’re a live music fan, you already know about this stunning concert venue. Red Rocks is the quintessential concert experience and you’ll find shows almost every night throughout the summer months. We love the museum underneath the stage – it’s definitely worth checking out! On weekend mornings, participate in several exercise boot camps scattered around the amphitheater, challenging participants to run up the 69 bench seats — can you do it? 

Historic LoDo Walking Tour

No better way to enjoy warm, sunny weather than with a walking tour around downtown, right? Lower Downtown, or LoDo for short, is Denver’s oldest business district and has a bit of a sordid past. (On that note this is an adults-only tour.) From crooked mayors to gangsters to brothels and opium dens, you’ll learn the crazy history of our city, as well as noted architecture, significant historic buildings, and haunted hotels.

Avanti Food and Beverage

Lauded as Denver’s hottest spot, this family-friendly “food hall” offers one of the best patio views of the downtown Denver skyline. The beautifully-designed space centers around its view, and visitors can indulge in any of the seven food vendors operating onsite or the two full-service bars. Make sure you get there early to snag a space on the upstairs patio.

Free Days

Denver has many top-notch cultural institutions, and on certain days of the year, they’re free to the public! This is perfect for large families or groups. Or it’s just perfect for those of us with a limited budget. Explore the Denver Zoo, which is home to the 10-acre Toyota Elephant Passage, or the world-renowned Denver Museum of Nature and Science, which features the Ultimate Dinosaur Exhibit.

South Pearl Street Farmers Market

Stroll along Old South Pearl Street and peruse booths filled with fresh produce, ready-to-eat treats, artisan cheeses, oven-baked goods, and freshly roasted green chilies. The quaint South Pearl neighborhood hosts this splendid outdoor market every Sunday, 9 am-1pm, from May until November.

City Park

Take the family out for a day at the park! City Park, which is just east of downtown, features two lakes, several monuments, two playgrounds, tennis courts, and picnic sites, in addition to the zoo and Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Then, on Sunday nights, grab your friends and head out for an evening at the park. City Park Jazz produces free concerts featuring jazz, blues, and salsa musicians.

This list should get you started for your Denver summer extravaganza. And as always, if you take any fun photos at any of these stops, feel free to share them with us!


Yay, it’s May!

May is an awesome month — especially if you’re a kid. It’s the start of summer break, and pools are open everywhere! As an adult, you have Mother’s Day brunches, Derby Day hats, and Cinco De Mayo happy hours to look forward to. And Memorial Day weekend usually means you’re headed to the mountains, a lake, or the ocean for a 3-day vacay.

May is also an awesome month if you’re a BackCountry resident. Here’s a rundown of fun happenings for the next few weeks. Hope to see you around!  

DERBY PARTY

Saturday, May 5, 6pm, Sundial House

Resident: Come celebrate the excitement and tradition of the Kentucky Derby with your neighbors. Ladies, start shopping for your Derby Day outfits now! Everyone should come dressed to the nines — men included. Here are a few helpful fashion tips for the big day. Register here so we know you’re joining in the fun.

COLORADO CHOCOLATE FESTIVAL

May 11-12, Denver Mart

What better way to treat your mom on Mother’s Day weekend than taking her to a chocolate festival? Sample chocolate candy, cakes, cookies, truffles, fudge, brownies, toffees, coffees, and so much more! You’ll also find a Mother’s Day Gift Market with jewelry, clothes, imports, and crafts. Learn more.

THE BIG HELP

Saturday, May 12, 10am-3pm, Backcountry Base Camp

You know the gorgeous Backcountry Wilderness area that backs up to our neighborhood and gives us an easy path to the outdoor beauty of Colorado? Well, every year, the Highlands Ranch Community Association (HRCA) puts together this big volunteer event to help spruce up the place. They even host a big party afterwards. Gather a crew and register here.

DEGAS: A PASSION FOR PERFECTION

Through May 20, Denver Art Museum

Need a dose of culture? Then head downtown to see this showcase featuring prolific French artist Edgar Degas. Well-known masterpieces are on view, including pieces that focus on his strong interest in opera and dance. Get tickets.

BACKCOUNTRY 3RD ANNUAL 5K – RUN WILD FOR ELLEN!

Sunday, May 20

We don’t have all the details yet, but go ahead, start lacing up those running shoes and save the date for this big event! We hope to see you there!


Ladies and Gentlemen, Start Your Gardens

As May approaches, so does warmer weather and tendrils of green grass. In fact, color is popping up everywhere in Colorado, making those of us blessed with a green thumb itchy for fresh soil and gardening gloves.

No matter if you’re a pro or a novice, gardening is an excellent stress-reliever, giving you an excuse to be outside on a beautiful day. Here are a few gardening ideas and suggestions to help you get the most of your yard this spring and well into the summer.

Woman Planting Container On Rooftop Garden

Declare your yard a mosquito-free zone

Don’t let mosquitoes ruin a beautiful early evening patio event. Not only are they annoying but they can transmit disease in humans and pets. But you don’t have to douse yourself in chemicals – plenty of plants can act as a natural repellant. Pick any of these seven plants to keep those blood-suckers out while sprucing up your front or back porch with wonderful fragrances.

Sprinkle baking soda in your garden

Even though baking soda has hundreds of uses inside your home, it also has a lot of uses in your garden too! This magical powdery substance can revive your rose blooms, sweeten tomatoes, kill weeds, and repel pests. It’s also handy to scrub all of the soil off your hands and arms after working in the garden.

Build a Squash Arc

What if you could tame your squash vines AND add a wonderful piece of architecture to your garden? This Squash Arc is easy to put together and makes it easier to control your squash so it no longer takes over the garden. This arch works for Sugar Pie Pumpkins, Butternut, and Delicata.

Grow Veggies in Containers

Growing plants in pots and containers allows you more flexibility and mobility and less weeding and back pain. You can also move the containers inside in inclement weather. We’ve found this list of 15 Veggies Perfect for Container Gardening to get you started.

Make a Vegetable Garden For Your Kids

Why are you doing all the backbreaking work in a garden? Forego this country’s child labor laws and send your kiddos out to the garden. They won’t mind – it’ll be an excuse for them to play in the dirt. This handy article will give you a step-by-step guide to creating a nourishing vegetable garden with your children.

Hopefully, this list will point you in the right direction for growing goodies around your yard. If you need more inspiration, check out BackCountry’s Let’s Garden Pinterest Board, where you can find articles on growing vertical gardens, ideas for herb gardens, and a handy planner.

Happy gardening and send us photos of your finished accomplishments this summer!

 


BackCountry’s Hippity Hoppity Eggstravaganza!

Residents! We can thank you enough for participating in BackCountry’s Spring Eggstravaganza!

This celebration was a smash success on Mar. 18. We loved seeing our young adventurers hunt far and wide for eggs, delight at the petting zoo, and celebrate the gorgeous weather together.  Here are the highlights from the momentous morning:

Little ones played with four-legged friends and feathered fellows at our petting zoo!

Springtime guests entertained residents with incredible stories and springtime-themed costumes!

The hunt is on! These youngsters get down to business and hunt for eggs everywhere!

Peter Cottontail paid BackCountry a visit in the morning to meet and greet residents and celebrate spring!

Games galore! Besides the big hunt, residents played a series of games. Competition was tough!

The sun shined on BackCountry all morning long. Thanks so much for joining us, residents! Get your fill on summertime activities coming soon to BackCountry.


For Self-Care Sunday, Put the Focus on YOU.

When the weekend rolls around, select one day to rest. Sleep in. Read the entire paper. Slumber on the couch. Whatever equates to relaxation in your world, make time for it. Some people use Sunday to get their errands done before the alarm goes off Monday morning. Some get those errands done Saturday and make the final 24 hours of the weekend sacred.

Sometimes we’re so caught up in what we’re convinced we HAVE to do, we don’t slow down enough to think about what we WANT to do. If you’re ready to commit to some time for yourself, here are a few ideas that could inspire a good stress-relieving, soul-cleansing, self-indulgent afternoon.

Good Morning Yoga Sequence

Find some quiet time, roll out your yoga mat and practice this 10-15 minute morning sequence designed to wake up the body. These moves will target all the places that might need a little extra space and life breathed into them after a night of sleep. This flowing sequence allows one pose to flow into the next, so take a deep breath and “go with the flow.”

 

Morning Meditation Practice

Instead of starting off the day with a blaring TV or radio, greet your weekend morning with a distraction-free environment. Morning signifies the beginning of a brand-new day filled with possibilities for us to do good. It’s also the ideal time to set our mindset for the rest of the day. Here is a helpful meditation guide to help you start the day with a positive spirit and calm mind.

Scented Wellness Bath Salts

Nothing soothes the body like slipping into a warm bath. And with the right bath salt aromas added, you can turn your bath time into a true spa experience. These aromatic combinations are your own personal concoctions, so mix and match the scents that work for you. Combine lavender and bergamot for a relaxation spell or mix lemon and rosemary for a mind-clearing experience.

Health-Boosting Infused Water

It’s always important to stay hydrated — especially in the dry Colorado air. But you can enhance your H20 consumption with an array of natural antioxidants and vitamins by soaking fruit in a pitcher or jar of water. Infused water is so easy to make and you can eat the fruit after you’re done drinking the water!

Coffee Body Scrub

As if coffee isn’t awesome enough as it is, you can also turn it into an invigorating body scrub. It’s nourishing, great for dry skin, exfoliating and easy to make! Use it in the shower before you wash with soap, but watch your step — the oil in the scrub can make your tub or shower floor slippery.

So, does reading about these home remedies make you ready for Sunday Self-Care Day? Don’t forget to make healthy eating choices all day long while you detox from the stress of the previous week. You’ll want to start off the upcoming week on the right foot and with a flat stomach!

Speaking of stress, if you’re concerned about finding a new home and the home-buying process, contact BackCountry today and let us de-stress your dream home search.


Mama Didn’t Raise An April Fool

Beware! April Fool’s Day approaches and sneaky pranksters are afoot! Watch out for Vaseline-covered doorknobs, switched-out shoelaces, loosely-screwed-in salt shaker caps, cranked-up volume dials on your laptop, and questionable word-replacement on your cell phone texts.

And parents, know that the suddenly-appearing tattoo on your toddler is a temporary one.

What you don’t have to watch out for is your friends at BackCountry. We would never pull one over on you! We’re just here to suggest fun events during April. Hope to see you around the Sundial House on those warm weather days!

9Health Fair and Family Fair

Saturday, April 21, 7am-12pm, Eastridge Recreation Center

Take responsibility for your health! At this fair, you’ll have access to an array of free and low-cost health screenings, as well as a Wellness Zone where you can learn about nutrition, illness prevention, fitness, safety and more. Sign up online at www.9healthfair.org.

Creatures of Light Exhibition

Every Day, 9am-5pm, Denver Museum of Nature & Science

This exhibition reveals some of the most magical, wondrous, and truly extraordinary creatures and phenomena found in the natural world. Exhibition is included with your museum admission. Learn more.

Yoga in the Galleries

Sunday, April 15, 8:45am, Museum of Contemporary Art Denver

Join in for a one-hour all-levels yoga class with live music held within the Cleon Peterson exhibit currently at the museum. The class is taught by Sarah Tinkler, a registered yoga instructor with more than 7 years of teaching experience. Cost is $20 for members/students and $25 for non-members, and includes museum admission. Get tickets.

The Big Help!

Saturday, May 12, 10am-3pm, Backcountry Base Camp

Do you love the beauty and convenient location of our Backcountry wilderness? Here’s your chance to give back! Gather a crew and help spruce up the Backcountry Wilderness Area at their biggest volunteer event of the year. Afterwards, celebrate with a BYOB picnic party complete with a brewery sponsor and an ice cream truck. Get registered.


Kitchen Trends for 2018

Your kitchen at BackCountry is the centerpiece of your home and provides all kinds of possibilities for customization and creative flair. To keep your kitchen from looking like a merely functioning space, it’s good to keep up with trends and find ways to express your own personality (or the personality of your family) through the hardware, furniture, dishes, walls, floors and cabinets.

We’ve combed the world wide web to highlight a few of the big kitchen trends for 2018. So, whether you’re looking to spruce up your cooking space or just thinking about it, we’ve found new color palettes, shelving trends and unexpected creativity.

We’ve combed the web to highlight a few of the big kitchen trends for 2018. So, whether you’re looking to spruce up your cooking space or just thinking about it, we’ve found new color palettes, appliance trends, and unexpected creativity.

Induction Cooktops

An induction cooktop uses an electromagnetic field to heat up a pot or pan while leaving the cooking surface cool to the touch. Induction cooking is 60% more efficient than gas stovetops and won’t overheat your kitchen. These cooktops also eliminate the need for a large range hood, opening the door to creative design possibilities.

Black Fixtures

Black is the new polished silver, or nickel, or whatever surface your current fixtures are. It feels very modern and won’t show wear and tear or water spots as quickly as other finishes. Black is always a good choice because it will work with just about every style and color palette you have going on.

Sage is the Rage

The “it” color for 2018 looks to be sage — which is a gorgeous neutral that brings a calming ambiance to any room. This mossy color works well with rustic furniture and looks particularly good mixed with warm wood and live greenery.

Flat Front Cabinetry

This simple and rather affordable door option really lends a sleek, modern look to any kitchen. Whether it is out of a beautiful grain wood or a white, seamless panel, this trend will always be timeless.

Undercounter Appliances

Appliances and storage are shifting down underneath counters, keeping them clear and small appliances accessible. You can now find microwave “drawers” that load from the top for added convenience.

Marble Walls

While marble itself can be stunning as a floor tile or a backsplash, nothing gives a room a focal point like an entire floor-to-ceiling wall of marble. Just make sure your counters and cabinets are very simple so they don’t compete with the colors and striations in your marble wall.

So, are you totally thinking about making a few tweaks to your kitchen to keep it trendy? If you need more ideas, check out the BackCountry Kitchen Inspirations Pinterest board. And please send us the before and after photos!


Eat Better, Live Better

If you’re like the majority of people these days, you’re probably paying attention to what you’re eating. You are what you eat, right? We’re all savvy enough to know that when we enjoy a healthy diet and exercise regularly, we look better, feel better, and tend to make better choices in life.

So, whether you’re sticking to a resolution, training for the Olympics (um, the NEXT Olympics), or simply avoiding allergic reactions, we have a few recipes that taste as good as they make you feel.

Spring Detox Cauliflower Salad

Cauliflower seems to be the go-to carbohydrate replacement this decade. Since everyone has made processed carbs the enemy, we had to find a new vehicle for flavors we love. Thus, cauliflower is the new healthy starch. And while you’ll find dozens of ways to make cauliflower palatable, this cauliflower salad recipe sounds pretty tasty and it doesn’t require too many ingredients to put together.  

Strawberry, Lime, Cucumber and Mint Infused Water

One of the biggest rules of diet is hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! In fact, when most people complain they don’t seem to be losing weight on a diet, it usually comes back to the fact that they aren’t drinking enough water. But water can be boring, right? So, jazz up a jar of H2O with this fruity mint concoction and start washing away the excess calories.

No Sugar, 2-Ingredient Pancakes

Most diets have you avoiding sugar at all costs, with the exception of naturally-occurring sugar in fruits. But man, giving up sugar means you give up so much — especially when it comes to breakfast! We found this recipe for pancakes made from eggs and bananas. That’s it! They may sound a bit too good to be true, but give them a try.

Watercress Soup

Are you aware of the health benefits of watercress? Not only does it work as an anti-aging ingredient, it also treats skin inflammatory conditions and promotes hair growth! But it’s not like you’re just going to grab a batch of watercress leaves and shove them in your mouth. Instead, just make this delicious soup puréd with a lovely combination of flavors.

Seasonal Leek and Potato Pan Roast

Do you have any friends who insist on eating paleo? Are you ONE OF THEM? This roast recipe is loaded with lots of veggies you can make all in one pan. Even better, it’s Whole 30 friendly!

Jalapeño Turkey Burgers

If you’re trying to avoid red meat but miss the joy of eating burgers, give these patties a try. They come with a little kick! Just make sure you wash your hands well after handling the jalapeños.

Once you find a recipe you like, share it with the world! Better yet, share it with your friends at BackCountry at the BackCountry Cooking Club. And make sure you post pictures of the finished product — we love looking at food pics!