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‘BackCountry Home & Garden’

Welcome, October. Or shall we say, Crocktober.

by | October 13th, 2015

Goodbye, summer heat—and our fixation on salads, grilling, and anything that doesn’t heat up the kitchen. October kicks off the season for tasty, hearty fare that warms up your belly, soul, and sometimes, happily, your kitchen too.

Now that the Denver Broncos are back in business, why not gather with your fellow BackCountry neighbors over a football game and, perhaps, a crockpot full of barbecue? In honor of our community, so well-known for its friendly get-togethers, BackCountry has created several Pinterest boards for you to explore—to get your mouth watering with seasonally inspired recipes, and your creativity awhirl with ideas for crafty autumn party décor. Here are some highlights.

Starting with crockpots, here’s a board devoted to the art of fix-it-and-forget-it from BackCountry’s master developer Shea Homes Colorado. If you are operating under the impression that slow cooking menus are limited to soups and beans, check out the recipes for a savory and light sweet potato gratin, Chinese-style barbecue, and lasagna described as “the easiest lasagna you will ever make.” Sold.

Easiest lasagna ever BackCountry Pinterest

On BackCountry’s Fall is for Football board, you’ll find more slow cooker recipes, as well as many other kinds. You’ll never miss your summertime grill with this Peppered Corn on the Cobwrapped in bacon. Want another barbecue variation, maybe on the sweet, Southern side? Here’s Pulled Pork with Bourbon-Peach Barbecue Sauce. And should you need some festive ambiance to go with all that good food, check out this board, 39 Clever Tailgating DIYs To Get You In The SpiritThink pennant-shaped cupcake toppers, downloadable party invitations, and custom drink labels.

pulled pork BackCountryCO Pinterest fall recipes

You’ll find another board from builder Shea Homes that’s unabashedly devoted to the Broncos. Snag a recipe for a Denver Broncos cocktail made of blue Cucacao, vodka, and blood orange soda. Or some irresistible orange and blue, candy-studded Broncos cookiesOr how about a whole Broncos-inspired menufrom appetizers to dessert?

Denver Broncos cookies BackCountryCO Pinterest

And lest we forget that other October attraction, Halloween, head over to BackCountry’s Autumn boardwhere you’ll find seasonal recipes, craft ideas, and Halloween goodies galore. Pick up 21 Halloween decorating tips or learn how to roast pumpkin seeds salvaged from your jack o’ lantern. Or stack up a pile of Pumpkin Waffles with Maple-Walnut Syrup!

pumpkin waffles BackCountryCO fall recipes

Hungry yet? If not, then check in often. Pins are always being added, so be sure to take a look before your next gathering.

September is sneaky. Winterize now.

by | September 22nd, 2015

In September, weather is even more unpredictable than usual. By the end of the month, average temperatures will have dropped 12 degrees. And while temperatures typically soar into the 90s for a day or two, snow shovels can make their first appearance.

If you’re new to BackCountry or Colorado, you’ll want to check out the winterizing tips below. Your beautiful new home and yard require just a little bit of attention this month. Then you can relax, knowing that everything is shipshape for the chilly season that lies ahead.

1) Tidy up your perennials. Colorado’s extreme temperature fluctuations and dry winds can brutalize many of our commonly planted perennials. And, as any long-suffering vegetable gardener will tell you, our first hard frost can land in September—which means that the foliage of most perennials starts to wither this month. If you prefer to remove dead foliage right away, gently apply mulch to protect the plant from the winter elements. (Always remove diseased foliage to avoid the spread of leaf-spot diseases and fungal problems.) Alternatively, you can wait to remove dead foliage in the spring.

2) Keep your plants hydrated. Our winter snows can be heavy and frequent…or irregular and insufficient. Make sure your landscape has the moisture it needs with a layer of mulch that’s several inches thick. Mulch should be coarse and loose, such as shredded leaves, to permit air movement to the roots. Become a mulch expert here. Also, water at least monthly under dry winter conditions. Apply water mid-day, and only when it’s 40 degrees or warmer.

flower bed mulch winterize

3) That goes for your trees, too. If you’re a new BackCountry owner, you should know that new trees are more susceptible to winter drought. Your trees will absorb water best with a slow soak into the soil to a depth of 12 inches. Apply water to many locations under the drip line and beyond, ideally with a deep-root fork or needle. Read the how-tos of tree and shrub watering here.

4) Replace your furnace filter. Even if you’re not turning on the heat yet, you will soon. Be ready for the chill with a nice, clean furnace filter so you can breathe easier and improve energy efficiency. By the way, you should do this every month, since a clean filter minimizes wear and tear on your furnace. Buy a bundle, so you have them ready. Mark the date on each new filter as you install it.

5) Unclog your gutters and downspouts. Naturally you’ll want to do a touch-up after all the autumn leaves have fallen, but cleaning out gutters and downspouts prevents serious damage from trapped rain, snow, and ice. Do it yourself if you’re comfortable, or play it safe and leave the climbing to a pro.

Clear out rain gutters for winter

6) Flush the water heater. Over time, particles and sediment can collect in the bottom of your water heater, hindering the unit’s efficiency. Flush the water through the drain valve to clear out the material and keep your heater healthy and long-lived. Because who wants a frigid shower on a cold morning? Watch this how-to video.

7) Rotate ceiling fans clockwise. And you thought ceiling fans were just for summer. Use these smart energy-savers year-round by reversing them in a clockwise direction. That way, fans will push the hot air near the ceiling down towards the floor.

8) Inspect your chimney. New Colorado fireplaces are gas-burning, but that doesn’t mean you can forget about the chimney altogether. Critters sometimes move in—which can spell disaster. Call a chimney sweep to inspect your chimney and clean out any hazardous debris.

9) Protect your pipes. Temperatures can get ugly around here fast, so don’t leave your pipes vulnerable to the freeze, thaw, and burst cycle—which can create a world of water damage and icky mold growing.  Weatherproof your plumbing by shutting off the supply of water to outdoor spigots and sprinkler systems, and then drain them. (Depending on your irrigation system, you may also need a contractor to blow out any excess moisture with compressed air.) Read more about how to protect your pipes while you’re away from home.

Water heater maintenance

10) Just say no to CO. That is, carbon monoxide. Before winter hits, make sure your carbon monoxide detectors are working properly and replace old batteries. If you cook on a gas range, use the fan on your stove hood to vent to the outside and reduce your carbon monoxide exposure. Adjust your burners so you get a nice blue flame; a yellow-tipped flame produces more emissions.

When your home is a hard hat area: Six tips for staying safe

by | September 16th, 2015

Somehow, watching a beautiful home rise from a hole in the ground just never grows old, even for the Shea construction crew. Of course it’s even more thrilling to watch when it’s your own new, BackCountry home.  More than the typical homebuilder, Shea encourages homebuyers to visit the construction site. Not only at four major milestones (welcome meeting, pre-drywall orientation, walkthrough, and delivery), but at additional, once-a-month visits too.  Safety precautions are essential at these busy construction sites though, says Jeff Palumbo, Shea Homes Colorado’s Manager of Safety and Environment. Here are Jeff’s six tips for staying safe while charting the progress of your home-to-be.

Shea Homes Colorado construction site

1) Sign in and suit up. Before visiting your home site, be sure to stop by the Shea sales office. A quick check-in ensures that Shea is aware of every customer onsite. Then they’ll help you gear up appropriately with a hard hat, high-visibility safety vest, and protective eyewear. Be sure to wear flat, closed-toe shoes to keep your feet safe.

2) Follow the buddy system. Monday through Saturday, all site visitors need to be accompanied by a Shea Homes representative. Sunday is our “fun day” (no Shea buddy necessary), but check-in at the sales office is still required.

3) Scope out the situation. Is the site muddy? Icy? Are there rain puddles you’ll want boots for? It’s smart to assess site conditions before stepping foot onto the property.

4) Keep your eyes on the prize. Always walk in the direction you’re looking. Backing up to get a broader view is tempting but dangerous, as you just don’t know what conditions exist behind you. Avoid open-hole areas altogether, as well as any areas where you might fall.

5) Stay together. If you’re touring in a group (after all, it’s fun to share the experience with friends and family), make sure you stay together. It’s also wise to designate one person as “safety lead,” keeping an eye out for the whole group. In general, children should not be onsite, but if they are, responsible parties must keep them by their side.

6) Leave rooftops to the professionals. Sure it may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised. Never access the roof under any circumstances.

Construction safety Shea homes colorado

Here’s an extra tip, too: Take lots of pictures. Besides the joy of sharing the progress of your new BackCountry home with friends and family, photos will remind you of this potentially once-in-a-lifetime event. And besides, how often do you get to pose in a hardhat?

And don’t forget to share your photos with on Instagram or Facebook! Tag us @BackCountryCO and use the hashtag #BackCountryCO.

BackCountry’s Drive–In Movie at the Amphitheatre

by | August 18th, 2015

BackCountry residents enjoyed root beer floats, popcorn and fun entertainment along with a family movie during the “Drive-in” Movie Night at the amphitheater.

10 tips for babyproofing your new home

by | August 18th, 2015

Go ahead, pat yourself on the back. Buying a new home is one of the smartest safety decisions you can make for your child. Sure those vintage homes can be adorable, but the narrow stairs, cloth electrical wiring, lead pipes, lead-based paint, and asbestos? Not so much. Thankfully, you won’t have to deal with any of that drama in a new home!

New homes, like those in BackCountry, follow modern building codes that keep your family safe. After move-in, you may want to tailor your home further to keep the munchkins healthy and happy. First, let’s take a look in the kitchen, that pre-dinner playground where toddlers are tempted to cook up a bit of trouble.

baby proof home BackCountry

1. Use cabinet latches and locks.
Ideally, you’re going to move those toxic, under-sink cleaning products somewhere high and out of reach. If not, then be super-vigilant with keeping the cabinets latched, as well as other cabinets housing breakables and heavies. Of course, it’s a smart idea to leave a few cabinets unlatched with child-friendly plastic measuring cups, spoons and nesting bowls to buy yourself some precious cooking time.

2. Keep the pet food bowls behind a baby gate.
A bowl of hard, crunchy pet food looks so inviting to a kiddo, but it can be a real choking hazard. If you can’t separate the pet food from the living areas, stand by as your pet eats, then immediately remove the bowl. (And if you have stairs, you’re definitely going to need another baby gate.)

3. Install stove knob covers and a stove guard.
Kids do what they see parents do—which can lead to twisting stove knobs and pulling down hot, bubbling pots of pasta water. Avoid that scary scenario with devices that make the stove completely inaccessible.

In the living room:

4. Edit your houseplant collection.
While you want your child to eat his greens, there are limits. Some plants look tasty to a little one, but many common houseplants are actually poisonous. Give those bad boys to your single friends, or those with older kids, and avoid indiscriminate noshing of the rest by keeping all plants high and out of reach.

poisonous house plant

5. Soften sharp edges.
Coffee tables, hearths, TV stands, and window ledges can be right at eye level for short stacks. Cushion all those edges with corner guards until kids get a little taller and steadier on their feet.

6. Choose kid-friendly window treatments.
Window blinds get a bad rap due to choking deaths caused by dangling cords. They’re not off-limits if you choose blinds that are cordless. Other options include roller or motorized shades, or wood or composite shutters.

In the bathroom:

7. Lower your water heater to 120 degrees.
This helps prevent busy little hands from getting burned when cranking up the faucet. Of course, you should always test the water temperature before placing your child in the tub, too. And install an anti-scald device to the end of the bath spout and sink faucet.

8. Install a toilet lock.
These smart devices serve many purposes.  Little fingers don’t get smashed. No danger of accidental drowning. Prevention of icky, germy water play. And no flushing of toys down the toilet—common enough, as any plumber can attest.

9. Lock up your medicines.
First, see #1 regarding a latch on your medicine cabinet. Or if you opted for a cute bathroom mirror without a medicine cabinet, invest in a lockable medicine safe that can fit inside any cabinet or drawer.

medicine cabinet with lock

And basically, everywhere in your home:

10. Cover your electrical outlets.
Because inquiring minds want to know…if that thing makes the vacuum go, what will happen if I put this fork/finger/whatever in there? It happens. Outmaneuver your budding electrical engineer with these universal outlet covers, which slide shut when the outlet is not in use.

Paragon Homes Offers its Last Five Homes in BackCountry

by | August 14th, 2015

“Even though we’re technically building semi-custom homes, I think buyers will find that between our flexible designs and the scope of personalization we offer, they’ll be able to achieve exactly the home they’re envisioning and at a remarkable price point.”

That’s the description of Paragon Homes’ President Ed Venerable describing the five remaining opportunities to build one of his company’s Sanctuary Collection homes in the gated BackCountry community in Highlands Ranch.

“Whatever area of the home is most important to a buyer, the area they feel most passionate for, we create and execute a plan for a home that exceeds their wish list,” adds Venerable describing the process where buyers, along with the Paragon team, work within a footprint to create a home which reflects their individual tastes, wants and needs.

Paragon-Homes-Denver

An example of a Paragon home – just five opportunities remain to create a home with the builder in the gated BackCountry community in Highlands Ranch.

The Sanctuary Collection homes range from 3,200 to 5,000 square feet and are priced between $1.2 and $1.4 million. The five remaining home sites are non-walkout, each about one-third of an acre and all backing to open space.

Described as Colorado mountain contemporary, Paragon’s home collection is comprised of seven designs – two ranch plans as well as five two-story residences – that are notable for their oversized entertaining spaces, chef-worthy kitchens and walls of glass that, as Venerable explains, “blur the lines between indoor and outdoor spaces.”

Courtyards with water features and fireplaces, exposed beams, walls of stacked stone, and spa-like master baths are among the features garnering praise in the Built Green homes.

Adjacent to the 8,200-acre Backcountry Wilderness Area and located just south of the intersection of Broadway and Wildcat Reserve Parkway, the award-winning BackCountry neighborhood is a benchmark among the Front Range’s luxury communities.

BackCountry Beauty Mountains Trees

“BackCountry’s master design and vision, its rustic feel and atmosphere, and its dedication to quality and attention to detail really dovetailed with our company’s style and mission and is a big part of why we’ve enjoyed so much success here,” adds Venerable.

“The unmatched atmosphere in concert with our designs ensures the homes live comfortably for both entertaining and family life.”

Paragon Homes has been an award-winning, highly-acclaimed builder along the Front Range for more than two decades and counts hundreds of satisfied homeowners as clients.

BackCountry’s noteworthy amenities continue to progress and include the Sundial House, wilderness trails, the BackCountry Outdoor Pool and the community amphitheater.

The gated BackCountry community also draws from the fundamental strengths of Highlands Ranch’s highly-rated schools, convenient shopping, recreation centers, open space, trails, and a master planned hallmark approach for over three decades. BackCountry is situated on the last available land within Highlands Ranch. Easy access to C-470 puts residents minutes away from Highlands Ranch business parks, as well as Inverness, the Denver Tech Center, and other metro-Denver business hubs.

Begin your adventure by stopping at BackCountry’s Discovery Center, which can be reached by going south from C-470 on Broadway to just south of Wildcat Reserve Parkway onto BackCountry Drive and can be reached by calling 720-344-9600.  More information on BackCountry is available at www.backcountryco.com.

BackCountry’s Kids Pirate Event

by | August 4th, 2015

BackCountry’s children enjoyed an afternoon of fun and games at the Kids Pirate Event.

BackCountry Summer Concert Series

by | June 23rd, 2015

BackCountry’s first summer concert of the season featured the Doobie Brothers tribute band, Black Water. Residents enjoyed great music and delicious food from Gusto’s Food Truck.

BackCountry’s Kids Science Event at the Sundial House

by | May 11th, 2015

Kids enjoyed a hands-on adventure with Bryce Jackman exploring the world of weird and wacky science with everyday household items. A little bit of fun and a whole lot of crazy.

Three common homebuilding myths, debunked

by | May 11th, 2015

Never bought a brand-spanking new home before? Well, there’s no denying that you’ll notice a difference between buying new and resale homes. But before you decide what’s right for you, make sure you’re not falling prey to misinformation. To give you a clearer understanding, we asked a few Shea Homes associates to share the most common myths they encounter among first-time buyers.


BACK COUNTRY WATER DANCE  5012 IMG# 1

Myth #1: “Buying a new home takes too long.”

If you’re comparing an existing home to one that’s just a twinkle in your eye then, yes, buying a resale home can be a speedier proposition. But keep in mind that new homes are available in all stages of construction, from idea-on-paper to partially-built to all-wrapped-up-with-a-bow—and landscaping. Keith McCann, a Shea Homes Lead Superintendent, notes that building a typical home from digging the hole to final touches takes only about 140 days (weather permitting, of course).

If you arrive later in the construction process, there can be little to no time difference between moving into a new or a resale home. A new home doesn’t require the previous owner to move out—which depends on their next home’s availability. The good news about entering the process a littler earlier is that you’ll have lots of possibilities for tailoring the home to your tastes. Not an option with a resale home. (Hello, stressful and expensive home renovation.) Which brings us to Myth #2.

Myth #2: “Choosing all your finishes is overwhelming.”

“One of the main reasons why people purchase a new home is they can pick everything that goes in it. Then the home is a reflection of them, of their personal taste,” says Scott Beaumont, a Senior Community Representative at Colliers Hill in Erie. Buy someone else’s home and spin the wheel. More often than not, their tastes won’t mesh altogether with yours. Which means that adapting the home to your preferences and lifestyle will happen after move-in. (If you don’t think that’s overwhelming, talk to anyone who’s just navigated the minefield of a kitchen renovation.)

With the right builder, selecting your finishes shouldn’t be overwhelming, but exciting, rewarding…and nicely assisted.

Shea Colorado New Homes Design Color Scheme

“At Shea, we all have design backgrounds,” says Senior Interior Designer Melanie Best. So when people come to the Design Studio, “they don’t have to go through every single tile—unless they want to. Once we nail down the buyer’s style, we can just bring out things we think they will like.” In fact, it can all happen in one or two 2-hour sessions—or as many as you want.

As Amy Baumert, a Senior Community Representative at BackCountry in Highlands Ranch has seen with her customers, “It means the world to people to visit our design studio and become part of the process in capturing and implementing what they’ll be calling home.” For a further breakdown of the design process, read this past interview with Melanie.

Myth #3: “Home builders are all alike.”

Jeff Palumbo, Shea’s Safety and Environment Manager, believes that “one common myth is that all builders are ‘Big Bad Builders’ who cut corners to save a buck. Really, that’s what separates Shea Homes from the rest. Being a Shea homeowner myself, I can reflect back on our process and it couldn’t have been a better one.”

Sadly, as in every industry, there are vendors who cut corners and those who are committed to creating quality products. Scott Beaumont encourages people to ask each builder, “What differentiates you as a home builder? Is it price? Features? Building process and construction?” While adhering to your budget is critical, make sure that a builder’s low price doesn’t translate to low quality. After all, this isn’t choosing between a generic and brand-name box of cereal. A home is an extremely complex project that uses constantly evolving materials and techniques, plus the expertise of more than 60-70 individuals.

Shea homes construction and development

Which raises a couple of other questions to ask: How long have you been in business? What kind of turnover do you have on your construction crew? Shea Homes, for example, has been in business since 1881. And its workers stay on longer than average, which leads to greater expertise and efficiency, says Keith McCann, who points out that his framing contractor has been on the job for 15 years and his foundation crew for six.

A home is likely your largest financial investment ever—usually at least 10 times the price of a car. So protect yourself by checking out reputations online and with real human beings. Get details on the warranty program. And find out the truth behind any other myths that could keep you from buying the home that’s right for you.

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