BackCountry Blog

Get Ready For Your Best Summer Yet

Summer is here, which means pool days, slushie drinks, warm-weather outfits, and the anticipation of an unforgettable road trip. With so much to look forward to this season, you’ll have a hard time accomplishing everything you want to do. By the time September rolls around, you might wonder where all the time went.

The wonderful thing about summer is having so much family time, so it’s a good idea to make a plan for getting the most out of the next three months. Here are suggestions for ways you and your fam can have the most YOLO summer ever.

Sign up for Library Programs

Did you know that our local library system has a variety of free events for your kids? Think of it as a way to keep their brains from atrophying in the months away from the classroom. You can find all kinds of interesting programs and clubs, with topics ranging from arts/crafts and games to literacy and STEM.

Get Your House Summer Ready

Summer weekends include inviting over family and friends, grilling out in the backyard, sitting on the patio with a beverage, and playing outdoor games. Avoid nuisances by making sure all of your outdoor lights are in working order,  clearing debris out of your garden beds, and getting your lawn into shape. Be sure to give your patio grill a deep cleaning — you want those burgers and hot dogs to turn out perfect!

Go on Family Bike Rides

Group bike rides are an excellent way for your family members to bond — and introducing your children to biking at an early age can result in a lifelong healthy hobby.  Before you head out the door, make sure you’re using the proper biking gear and follow these tips for family biking safety.

Hit Several Farmers Markets This Year

Colorado hosts so many wonderful farmers markets around the state that it would be fun  to try and hit as many as possible this summer  to get a feel for your surrounding communities — and to help educate your kids about the benefits of freshly picked produce. Visiting multiple farmers markets also goes a long way in supporting local farmers.

Keep Allergies At Bay

Don’t let constant sniffling and sneezing ruin your summer. Keep your symptoms under control with a variety of tips, including nasal lavage, eating more fish oil, possibly avoiding dairy, and keeping your indoor air quality clean. When you feel at your best you can head outside and enjoy the outdoors all you want without consequence!

Are you ready to take on your summer? Make sure you get everything you can out of the next few months — and always remember to wear sunscreen.

Where Your Dream Home Meets Your Dream Community

If you’re searching for the right floorplan in the right community, you couldn’t pick a more perfect place. Richmond American Homes at BackCountry brings a personal approach to homebuilding to ensure that each new home has a one-of-a-kind look — not to mention our location in Highlands Ranch puts you close to everything that’s wonderful about living in Colorado.

It’s easy to see how Richmond American Homes has become so successful at BackCountry, since their plans appeal to homeowners with distinctive tastes and unique lifestyles, BackCountry’s gated community has many wonderful amenities to offer, including the award-winning Sundial House, which boasts an outdoor pool, a fitness studio, a demo kitchen, and an amphitheater. Outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate the 8,200 acres of open space with trails and wilderness to explore, and parents will be happy about the proximity to Douglas County Schools. When you add it all up, it’s clear why BackCountry was named Community of the Year.

Inside each Richmond American Home you’ll spot quality craftsmanship and attention to detail, including the ever-popular open-space concept living. These ranch-style homes have been some of their most popular models, and each plan featured below comes with a two-car garage and a finished basement option:

The Garrison Plan

Greet guests with an inviting front porch that leads them to the center of the home. Here you’ll find the ultimate chef’s kitchen, with a large island, a walk-in pantry, and a double oven. The adjacent great room with fireplace and covered patio is ideal for gatherings of friends and family. The front-facing bedroom has a full bath and laundry room as well as a lavish master suite with private bath and an immensely large walk-in closet. If you need more sleeping space for guests, you have the option to add two bedrooms with bath and a rec room downstairs.

The Grady Plan

The Grady is a truly beautiful plan made for entertaining, boasting a gourmet kitchen with a large center island, a spacious dining area, and an adjacent great room with fireplace. Other highlights include a luxurious master suite with an attached bath and dual walk-in closets, as well as a spacious secondary bedroom with private bath. A covered patio and a convenient alley-entry garage are also featured. Need another guest room? Just add a third bedroom and bath downstairs, along with a rec room.

The Graham Plan (Available now!)

This stunning home will impress friends, families, and neighbors alike. Get ready to entertain in style — both indoors in the generous great room with contemporary fireplace and outside on the covered patio. The gourmet kitchen offers ample countertop and storage space, as well as a large walk-in pantry and a sprawling center island. A sophisticated master suite boasts a private bath with a walk-in shower and rain showerhead, while downstairs you can add two bedrooms with a bath and a rec room. It’s spring time — prime season for home shopping — so we hope you’ll stop by and see these gorgeous homes in person. No matter what your style is, Richmond American Homes and BackCountry are here to meet your needs. We’d also love to take you on a tour of the Sundial House and pool, which opens on May 24. Contact us today for a showing!

Best Trails Around South Metro Denver

Spring has sprung! If you’ve noticed the warmer temperatures and the chirping of birds, chances are you probably want to get outside and enjoy the sunshine. Dig your hiking gear out of the back of the closet, grab the kids (or a buddy), and make your way to one of these nearby trails to enjoy the change of seasons.

Waterton Canyon

This flat, out-and-back hike for all ages allows you to choose your own distance — plus it’s stroller-friendly. If you arrive early enough, you might spy a few bighorn sheep or even catch the sight of an eagle soaring overhead! You can hike, bike, and fish on this winding dirt trail, but unfortunately your pooch needs to stay at home.

Helen Hunt Falls

Choose your own adventure at this gorgeous landmark — enjoy the gorgeous view either from the base of the falls next to the visitor center or from a bridge across the falls. For a longer and demanding hike, pick the 4-mile trail that goes from the bottom of Cheyenne Canyon up to the falls.

Roxborough State Park

This is a popular hike for family and visiting friends, as the trails are ranked from easy to moderate. Willow Creek is an ideal beginners trail that features views of the striking red rock formations that make this park truly spectacular. For more of a challenge, the Carpenter Peak Trail offers a strenuous 6.2 mile out-and-back trip that will get your heart rate going!

Chatfield Park

This park with a reservoir offers 10 miles of paved trails for strollers and skaters and 16 miles of non-paved trails for hikers and mountain bikers. All trails are rated easy to moderate, so they’re safe for young children and flatlanders. Even though dogs have to be leashed on the trails, you will find an off-leash area where your pup can roam free.

Don’t these trails sound perfect for an outdoor excursion? Before you head out, make sure you’re carrying your10 essentials; There’s more to hiking than comfortable boots and energy bars, so make sure you’re carrying enough water and the necessary gear, even for a short day hike.

In addition, you’ll want to check trail conditions ahead of time. Even though the snow may have melted around your neighborhood, you could still encounter ice, snow, and mud on the trails. Check trail reports online, but always bring traction gear and hiking poles just in case.

Happy hiking!

Get The Best of Both Worlds with the Shadow Walk Collection

One world offers access to top-rated schools, fantastic shopping, fine dining, and so much more. The other shares a border with the serene and picturesque Colorado wilderness. What if you could have the best of both worlds in a single gated community?

This is what makes BackCountry such a distinctive and sought-out neighborhood — it seamlessly brings these two worlds together. You’re close to the conveniences of the thriving Highlands Ranch scene, and even closer to the 8,200-acre Backcountry Wilderness Area.

On April 13, you can make this combined world a reality as Shea Homes opens sales on their model homes in the Shadow Walk Collection at BackCountry. This collection features one ranch and three 2-story homes for sale, each with stunning designs and curb appeal. Ranging from 2,875 square feet to 4,396 square feet, these plans offer open-concept living, gourmet kitchens, soaring ceilings, and lots of outdoor spaces to enjoy our 300 days of year-round sunshine.


This two-story home is made for a large, active Colorado family thanks to 3,357 square feet of living space, five bedrooms, 4.5 baths, and a two-bay plus one-bay garage. You’ll feel right at home as soon as you walk into the great room with its brick fireplace, and turn to see a spacious designer kitchen with large island and built-in refrigerator. Upstairs, a roomy loft gives everyone a space to gather for reading, studying, or socializing, and the second-floor laundry room makes clean-up so much easier. The 1,361-square foot basement can be finished for additional living space.

Autumn Haven

If you like lots of elbow room then this is the home for you — the Autumn Haven offers 2,875 square feet, four bedrooms, and 3.5 baths. You’ll love the open-concept downstairs, featuring a large dining area that opens to an expansive covered patio, a huge great room, and an enormous laundry room with a project desk. Upstairs, you’re greeted by a loft with built-in bookshelves and bench, plus a spacious master suite with a sitting area and two walk-in closets.


This ranch plan has everything you need on one level, with loft upstairs and a finish basement for more space. Picture what your life would look like across 4,396 square feet, four bedrooms, and 3.5 baths of gorgeous space. The great room impresses with its vaulted ceiling, fireplace, and built-in cabinetry, and the morning room off the kitchen opens to a covered patio. The main floor master suite features a tub and walk-in shower, while a second-floor loft can be used as your own personal craft room.


Welcome to a home that embraces the contemporary but still maintains classic touches. This 3,594-square foot, five-bedroom, 4.5 bath home features modern conveniences like stainless steel appliances and a large walk-in pantry, as well as a formal dining room and plantation shutters. The morning room off the kitchen opens to a covered patio and the main floor library is complete with built-in cabinetry and shelves. Upstairs, you have the luxury of a second-floor laundry room with sink. Downstairs, you have a 1,569-square foot unfinished basement.

We invite you to visit BackCountry on April 13 so you can explore the Shadow Walk Collection and learn more about the available houses for sale — plus our wonderful community amenities.

Become Enthralled With the Water Dance

Beginning in March,Shea Homes will release the model homes from the Water Dance Collection, offering the best of both worlds: convenient, amenity-rich living in south Denver plus adventure right outside your back door.

You’ll find these homes inBackCountry, which was named the Home Builders Association of Metro Denver’s Community of the Year in 2011. This premier gated master-planned community is surrounded by shopping, dining, and much more, including the stunning 8,200-acre Backcountry Wilderness Area adjacent to the neighborhood.

The Water Dance Collection at BackCountry includes one spacious ranch plan and five inspired two-story plans with gourmet kitchens, three- and four-bay garages, and spectacular outdoor living spaces perfect for soaking up that Colorado sunshine. These homes range from 2,830 to 3,908 square feet and offer a variety of design options.

Northern Sky

This single-familyhome offers two stories and 3,439 square feet of elbow room. With four bedrooms, 3.5 baths, and a three-bay garage, you’ll love how this floorplan flows effortlessly across an open concept kitchen and great room to the outdoor dining terrace with fireplace. Upstairs, you’ll appreciate a laundry room between the bedrooms and an optional loft space for reading, crafting, or studying.

Serenity Star

Imagine walking out of your gorgeous 4,924 square-foothome and into your covered outdoor great room, complete with fireplace. Why settle for a simple porch when you can have a wraparound living space with open views of your beautiful surroundings? The high ceilings, large kitchen, and formal dining room make this home the perfect place to entertain. Upstairs, the enormous master suite features an optional fireplace, two large walk-in closets, and a spacious master bath with a walk-in shower. Downstairs, you’ll find a finished basement with a wet bar and built-in media center.


Spread throughout this 3,795 square foothome are spacious rooms, unique amenities, and features you weren’t expecting. Step across hand-scraped 6” Amish hickory wood floors. Enjoy an outdoor wraparound greater room with optional fireplace. Impress guests with your wine room and walk-in beverage refrigerator. Watch the sun rise from the outdoor sky terrace off your master bedroom


Our most spaciousfloorplan may be large — measuring 5,136 square feet — but still feels intimate at the same time. Abundant windows around the great room let in Colorado’s natural light, while a hearth room with fireplace warms up the open concept kitchen on cold mornings. A formal dining room with wine reserve lends elegance to every dinner party, and the upstairs master suite features the largest dual walk-in closet you’ve ever seen. You’ll appreciate the finer touches including Caeserstone countertops in the master bath and custom built-ins in the master closet.

Call 720.344.2900 today to schedule a visit.

Break Away This Spring

Break Away This Spring

March means spring break, so naturally it’s the month where everyone hits the road or the runway to seek a respite from their regular routine. Depending on your budget, your allotted vacation days, or your feelings about airports, you’ll find many available options for sightseeing, adventure, and recharging your mental batteries.

Day trip for the family – Glenwood Hot Springs

If you’re not from Colorado, you may not be aware that the world’s largest mineral hot springs pool is only a few hours from Denver. With a lap lane for adults and a diving area with two water slides for kids, Glenwood Hot Springs is an iconic Colorado family experience. If you’re especially interested in recharging and relaxing, an onsite spa offers body treatments, facials, and massages.

Road trip for powder – Grand Targhee Resort

Ready to hit the slopes but want to go someplace out of the ordinary? Pack up the car and head to Wyoming! Perched on the western slope of the Tetons, Grand Targhee is perfectly positioned to reap the lion’s share of snow arriving from eastern-moving storms. As an added bonus, kids 12-and-under stay and ski for free when you book a trip of three or more nights.

Quick flight to a dude ranch – Rancho de los Caballeros

Hop on a short flight and saddle up for a unique spring break at an old-school dude ranch in Arizona. Rancho de los Caballeros offers families an insider’s look at cowboy life — only with better food and cozier accommodations. Kids can stay busy with swimming, crafts, hiking, sports, and trail riding while parents can relax with golf, massages, or horseback rides.

Cross-country flight for beads – Biloxi, Mississippi

Some people call this city along Mississippi’s Gulf Coast a “poor man’s New Orleans,” but once you visit you’ll realize it may actually be the “smart person’s New Orleans.” The city has been celebrating its own unique take on Mardi Gras for centuries, each year playing host to more than 2 dozen parades and 100 floats. Plus, Biloxi offers direct access to the beach — one of the few things you can’t do in swampy N’awlins.

International flight for green beer – Dublin, Ireland

Dust off that passport and head to the motherland for an authentic Saint Patrick’s Day celebration. The streets of Dublin burst to life this month in anticipation of the annual Festival Parade on the 17th, featuring pageants, costumes, marching bands, and more. The parade is a monumental occasion for Ireland and boasts an unforgettable atmosphere that simply cannot be missed — you can even buy tickets in advance for grandstand seating with unhindered views of the parade.

Is your wanderlust kicking in? Good! Now head to Airbnb or Kayak and start planning those March vacations. Don’t forget to send us your favorite vacation photos from this spring — we love learning about new destinations!

Make 2019 the Year You Go BackCountry

Is one of your resolutions this year to buy a new home? Then you’ll want to head down to BackCountry and see what we have to offer. BackCountry is one of Denver’s most prestigious communities and it shows – we are down to our last available home sites. You’ll find these beautiful remaining houses in our Milestone Collection by Berkeley Homes.

Berkeley Homes is a local builder renowned for creating exceptional homes in many of Colorado’s top communities. For more than 30 years, Berkeley’s passion for their craft and their customers has garnered them a devoted clientele and numerous local and national awards.

Right now, we are featuring one of their most popular floor plans with its own unique promotion. Residence One, part of the The Milestone Collection, is a fresh, Colorado-contemporary two-story family home with three bedrooms and 2.5 baths.

Inside, you’ll find 2,555 square feet of living space flanked by a two-car garage. On the main floor you’re greeted with a large, open concept kitchen/living room/dining room and a main study in the front of the house. The luxurious kitchen features quartz counters, tile backsplash, white cabinets, and an ebony island.

Go upstairs and you’ll find a spacious loft, a laundry room, and two additional bedrooms with bath. The super master suite boasts a bathroom that comes with a five-piece bath. Downstairs you’ll find an unfinished basement that can be completed later if you need any additional living space.

Get a better feel of the spaciousness and design of the Residence One floor plan with this 3D tour. (Note: this is not the house featured for this promotion, but another home model with the same floorplan.)

This particular home, a garden level lot located at 439 Red Thistle Drive (Lot 20), is priced at $795,012. And from now until February 28 you can get a $10,000 incentive towards the purchase price, a rate buy-down, or closing costs for this house.

Berkeley Homes are designed to enhance the one-of-a-kind lifestyle every homeowner seeks. And not only is this beautiful home being offered with a promotional price, this could be one of your last chances to get in to one of Colorado’s top gated communities. Contact us today for a showing.

Tidy up for a February Freshening

Spring is nigh, and that usually means spring cleaning isn’t too far down on your to-do list. As February weather tends to keep you indoors anyway, this would be a good time of year to give your house a full, deep clean.

If you need a little motivation, sometimes it helps to just pick one project – like cleaning out your pantry, to get you started. Once you begin, you can keep that momentum going into cleaning and organizing the rest of the kitchen and then eventually move on to other rooms.

Here are a few tips to get you started:


Start by getting rid of magazines, books, clothes, papers, desk supplies, boxes, throws, toys, equipment, and anything else that takes up counter space or floor space. Find a place for it or toss it – just get it out of the way. If you need inspiration, give Marie Kondo’s Netflix special a try and start sparking joy around the house.


Like any major project, you need to have a plan. We recommend that you start high – as in the ceilings, light fixtures, window treatments, and hard-to-reach places, and then work your way down to the floors. As you’re cleaning higher-up places, dirt and grime can drift downward. And when you dust cabinets and countertops, that dust likes to kick up in the air and settle on lower surfaces as well.


Start with the upstairs windows and then move down. Clean the glass first by lightly spraying cleaner all over the pane and then wiping with a microfiber cloth. If you have a squeegee, even better. Clean the outside of the window first, so when you clean inside you can see any streaks more clearly and get rid of them.


This room will probably involve the most work, so try and block out an entire day (and a few “volunteers”) for it. Start high by cleaning the ceiling over your stove, the top of the refrigerator, light fixtures, and higher shelving, and then work your way down to the countertops. Tackle any grease stains on your stovetop with a degreaser product and wipe all surfaces with warm soapy water and a microfiber cloth. Don’t forget to wipe down the inside of your microwave and the shelving inside your refrigerator. After all of your surfaces are clean, grab a broom and a mop and clean out all of the dirt and debris under your appliances.


While you mostly keep your bathroom clean every week, now is the time to roll up your sleeves and really get in there. Start by washing the shower curtain with a cup of bleach to get rid of any mold. Wipe down the top of your mirror and any high shelving. Clear out all of your products sitting inside your shower or tub and really scrub down the surfaces with a bleach product. Get down on the floor and clean behind the toilet and the sink. Then give the floor and the baseboards a good mopping.


After you purge your clothes, desk supplies, beauty supplies, kitchen supplies, etc., wipe down all of your shelving and drawer surfaces with a multi-surface cleaner. Then invest in a few containers and dividers to keep your belongings organized. Clear containers work best so you can see the items inside, and drawer organizers help separate and extend the life of your undergarments.

Are you ready to spray and scrub your way to a perfectly clean house? Do you have any deep-clean pointers you can share? We’re all ears.

Go Green in 2019

As a Coloradan, you’re probably aware of the benefits of ecological responsibility and preserving our natural resources. Some of us are concerned about global warming. Others just want to save money on their utility bills. But most of us agree that making the planet sustainable for future generations is a pretty good reason to go green.

Not surprisingly, environmental preservation is the basis for the partnership that shaped BackCountry’s future. More than 25 years ago, the developer of BackCountry agreed with Douglas County, the Highlands Ranch Community Association (HRCA), and Sand Creek Cattle Co. to preserve the Backcountry Wilderness Area. They wanted to protect it for future generations. And this land adjacent to our residential community is a beautiful place – 460 acres – that amazes, inspires, and reminds us what it truly important.

If you’re looking for ways to work towards a brighter, cleaner future, here are a few suggestions we think most people can incorporate into their daily routine.

Recycle. But recycle responsibly.

The good thing about recycling is that it doesn’t take a lot of effort to be a good recycler. But keep in mind improper recycling can introduce impurities that mess up the process. Remember when tossing a bottle or can into a recycling bin that caps and lids can’t be recycled. Neither can pizza boxes or anything else with food waste attached. And that huge chaotic pile of plastic grocery bags? Take that to your local grocer – they have a specific recycling bin for them. Here are some guidelines for recycling in Highlands Ranch.

Make a commitment to stop wasting food

Food waste is a worldwide epidemic, so start finding ways to fight back. Americans, on average, throw away up to 40% of the food they buy. So commit to better food management and start shopping and cooking smarter. Only buy what you need at the store. When cooking at home, turn that uneaten food into leftovers. Donate any excess food to food banks and charity drives. And don’t just throw away food based on expiration dates – these are more about food quality than safety.

Build a compost pile

One way to deal with food waste is to compost. This uses food and yard scraps that would otherwise be thrown away to make a nutrient-rich soil for your garden. In order to make compost, all you need is a location – preferably in your back or side yard, away from street view. A compost bin is not the prettiest structure but the compost will feed your plants essential nutrients and make your soil more fertile. Here are instructions on how to create a compost pile correctly.

When you follow simple ideas like these for greener living, the small changes you make every day can add up to make a difference. We encourage you to educate yourself on ways to lessen our footprint on the environment and see what actions you can afford to make that can help preserve our future.

The Winter Of Our Disconnect

Now that we’re in the throes of a Colorado winter, it’s easy to hunker down with your phones, your video games, and your Netflix shows and hibernate inside your cozy Shea home until the sun stays up past 7 pm again. But don’t let the cold and the clouds keep you from getting out and enjoying unique and interesting winter activities. Put the charge cords away and check out some of these cool events over the next few weeks. Your warm and comfy Shea home will still be there when you return.


January 18 – February 10, PACE Center

Watch a band of newsboys take on big business to fight for what’s right in turn-of-the-century New York City. This musical features a Tony Award-winning score including classics like “Carrying the Banner,” “Seize the Day,” and “Santa Fe.” This performance is perfect for the whole family and every audience. Learn more.


February 2, 12-4pm, Southridge Rec Center

Celebrate Asian art and culture with an array of educational art and craft displays and peruse items for sale. You can also see a performance by the talented Great Wall Chinese Academy, featuring dances, martial arts, and a choir. Get tickets.


January 18 – April 28, Clyfford Still Museum

This exhibition spans the artist’s 60-year career, featuring approximately 35 paintings, 35 works on paper, and a sculpture. The narrative begins in the 1920s with traditional landscape subjects and Depression-era figure studies that transform into quasi-abstractions. Learn more.


January 12-27, National Western Center

One of Colorado’s preeminent tourist destinations, this stock show hosts one of the world’s richest regular season professional rodeos, one of the country’s largest horse shows, and Colorado’s largest western trade show. Come see what event attracts 650,000 visitors every year. Buy tickets.


February 6-10, Steamboat Springs

Now in its 106th year, the Steamboat Winter Carnival was created to help residents cope with cabin fever during the height of the Colorado winter season. The event continues to this day as a reason for neighbors to gather, celebrate winter, and experience a ski town tradition. Learn more.