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Apr 28

How to Host a Backyard BBQ

With longer, warmer days, it’s the perfect time to host a barbecue in your own backyard. Nothing sounds better than spending a sunny spring afternoon surrounded by food, friends, and family. If you don’t know where to start, we’ve created a helpful guide that will have you planning, grilling, and barbecuing like a pro.


Before you rush off to buy supplies, you need to determine your budget, location, and a get rough estimate of the number of attendees. Backyard barbecues are informal gatherings, so there’s no need for extravagant invitations. Instead, you can send a customizable e-vite or even a simple text-message. Make sure to include the essential information such as location, time, RSVP contact and food to bring (more on this later).

Once you get a count of attendees, the next step is renting, borrowing, or purchasing tables and chairs. If you aren’t able to borrow these and have a tight budget, a cost-effective solution is to rent tables and chairs from your local party rental stores. If your barbecue is expected to continue past sundown, you’ll also need lighting for the evening time. You can find outdoor lighting options from your local party rental store or opt for these beautiful and affordable globe string lights.

Now that your seating and lighting arrangements have been made, it’s time to purchase plates, utensils, and drinkware. To minimize clean-up, choose disposable utensils, plates, and cups.  If you’re going for a slightly more up-scale backyard barbecue, opt for ceramic plates, real silverware, and glass tumblers to give your gathering a classic touch.


The most important part of the barbecue (and arguably most parties) is the food! Ask your friends and family members to bring either snacks or sides. That way you can focus on preparing the main entrees and stick to your budget. To make planning and shopping easier, we’ve broken up the traditional barbecue menu into various food groups:

Snacks – chips and dip, fruit and veggie tray, cheese and crackers, pretzels.

Entrees – hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken wings, ribs.

Accompaniments – ketchup, mustard, relish, mayonnaise, cheese slices, hot sauce, barbecue sauce.

Sides – salads, fruit salads, coleslaw, potato/macaroni salad, corn on the cob.

Desserts – ice cream bars, s’mores, pies, popsicles.

Drinks – water bottles, lemonade, sodas, beers, fruity cocktails for the adults.


Whether it’s your first time behind the grill or you’re a seasoned pro, here are some grilling safety and cooking tips:

There are two types of grills: charcoal and gas. While both have their own advantages and disadvantages, we will focus primarily on charcoal grills. In addition to having a grill, you will also need a thermometer, tongs, long-handled wire grill brush, and an instant-read thermometer for checking the internal temperature of meats.

Now that you have all your tools ready, it’s time to fire up the grill. The best way to light your charcoal is by using a chimney starter. Place two pieces of crumpled newspaper under your chimney starter. Fill the chimney with charcoal and light the newspaper. Place your chimney on the grill and in about 10-15 minutes, the coals should be hot enough to pour into the grill. Create a two-zone fire by arranging your hot coals one-side of the grill and leaving the other side coal-free. The ideal temperature to begin cooking is within the 450-550 degrees Fahrenheit range. Make sure to keep your grill lid down for as long as necessary when cooking. This helps to lock in moisture and keep heat from escaping. The vents at the top and bottom of your grill are the best ways to change the flow of oxygen and stabilize coal temperatures.

The best method for grilling thin cuts of meat and food that cooks quickly is direct-heat grilling (grilling over the coals). Use the indirect grilling method to cook foods that require a longer grilling time. This method ensures that your food won’t be scorched or dry out over time. Cooking on the side without coals also prevents dangerous flare-ups. In event of a flare-up, the safest way to put it out is by putting the lid back on. Never use water to extinguish a flare-up because it will cause the grease on the coals to pop

Apr 25

Trumark Honored With Eight Awards at Bay Area Building Industry Association’s “Excellence in Home Building” Awards

Trumark Received Top Accolades with Attached and Detached “Community of the Year” Awards

San Francisco, Calif. (April 25, 2018) – Trumark Companies announced today that it was honored with eight awards at the 2018 Bay Area Building Industry Association’s “Excellence in Home Building” Awards. Most notably, Trumark’s Perch community in Dublin, CA won “Attached Community of the Year”, its Glass Bay community in Newark, CA won “Detached Community of the Year” and Trumark’s Christina Ball was named “Marketing Director of the Year”. In addition, Trumark placed as a finalist in 16 marketing and design and professional achievement categories.

“The Excellence in Home Building Awards is a gathering of the most respected and innovative Bay Area homebuilders in the industry, and we are honored to have been recognized among them by such a prestigious organization,” said Gregg Nelson, co-founder and principal of Trumark Companies. “We are thankful to our entire Trumark team and everyone involved in bringing our communities to life for their hard work and dedication that contributed to this incredible achievement.”

Honoring the best in the production of quality homes, the “Excellence in Home Building” Awards celebrate Northern California’s most distinguished builders and developers. The awards gala, held on Friday, April 20 at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco, drew a sold-out crowd of esteemed industry professionals.

Trumark was awarded top honors in the following categories:

  • Community of the Year – Attached – Perch – Trumark Homes
  • Community of the Year – Detached – Glass Bay – Trumark Homes
  • Marketing Director of the Year – Christina Ball
  • Best Community Logo – KnoxTrumark Urban
  • Best Landscape Design – KnoxTrumark Urban
  • Best Architectural Design of an Attached Home Under 2,000 SF – Perch, Plan 3 – Trumark Homes
  • Best Interior Merchandising of an Attached Model Priced Under $750,000 – Perch, Plan 1 – Trumark Homes
  • Best Community Website – Glass Bay – Trumark Homes

Trumark was a finalist in the following categories:

  • Best Community Logo – Glass Bay – Trumark Homes
  • Best Overall Advertising Campaign – Perch – Trumark Homes
  • Best Community Signage – Perch – Trumark Homes
  • Best Digital Campaign – Knox – Trumark Urban
  • Best Social Media – Knox – Trumark Urban
  • Best Sales or Leasing Office – Glass Bay – Trumark Homes
  • Best Outdoor Living Space – Knox – Trumark Urban
  • Best Interior Merchandising of an Attached Model Priced Over $750,000 – Perch, Plan 2 – Trumark Homes
  • Best Architectural Design of a Detached Home Under 2,500 SF – Seagrass at Glass Bay, Plan 2 – Trumark Homes
  • Best Architectural Design of a Detached Home Under 2,500 SF – Boardwalk at Glass Bay, Plan 3 – Trumark Homes
  • Best Architectural Design of a Detached Home 2,500 SF to 3,500 SF – Saltcreek at Glass Bay, Plan 2 – Trumark Homes
  • Best Architectural Design of an Attached Home Under 2,000 SF –  Perch, Plan 3 – Trumark Homes
  • Best Multi-Family Community Design – Knox Trumark Urban
  • Best Architectural Series (collection of plans) – Glass Bay – Trumark Homes
  • Community of the Year – Attached – Knox – Trumark Urban
  • Sales Team of the Year – Glass Bay (Teri Leffel, Michael Thomas & Justus Yeung)

Now in its 41st year, the Excellence in Home Building Awards pay tribute to the support of an adequate supply of quality homes across all income levels. Members of the BIA are home builders, trade contractors, suppliers and residential development industry professionals.  The Bay Area chapter represents 14 counties within Northern California and encourages all people who provide services within the residential building industry to join.

About Trumark Group of Companies

Celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2018, The Trumark Group of Companies is a diversified real estate development and building firm that includes: Trumark Communities, a master planned community developer; Trumark Homes, a next generation homebuilder; Trumark Commercial, which builds, leases and sells commercial buildings; and Trumark Urban, a vertically integrated residential developer focused on core urban neighborhoods.

Apr 19

Tumark Homes Hosts Grand Opening for Model Homes at Centerhouse Community in Ontario, California

Newport Beach, Calif. (April 19, 2018) Trumark Homes, the national award-winning California homebuilder, will open three model homes at its Centerhouse community in Ontario, California. The public is invited to attend the model home grand opening event at Centerhouse on Saturday, April 21 from 11 am to 3 pm. Guests will enjoy a taco truck, dessert truck, live DJ, kids’ activities and more along with the opportunity to tour three beautiful model homes.

Comprised of 114 flats and two-story townhomes, Centerhouse offers two- to four-bedroom floorplans ranging in size from 1,430 square feet to 1,946 square feet and is designed in three-plex and six-plex style buildings. Featuring a contemporary craftsman architectural style, each home is designed with two-car garages and rear yards or large private balconies.

“We are excited to debut our model homes at Centerhouse and officially invite the community to see and experience the possibilities that await in this distinct Trumark community,” said Richard Douglass, Southern California Division President at Trumark Homes. “Sales have been tracking positively and it’s clear at this point that the demand for homes at approachable price points in Ontario is very strong.”

Centerhouse also features community amenities, including a resident-only pool and a walking paseo that stretches through the middle of the community.

Trumark Homes is offering homebuyers at Centerhouse, through their preferred lenders, creative financing programs that provide up to five percent grants/gifts for down payment assistance on conventional and FHA loans.

Sales are underway, first closings will take place in July 2018 and construction is slated for completion in December 2019.  Centerhouse is located at 2351 S. Fern Avenue in Ontario, CA 91762.

About Trumark Homes

Celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2018, Trumark Homes is a visionary, next generation homebuilder with a robust portfolio of new home neighborhoods spanning the state of California. Emphasizing distinction and innovation in every home, Trumark Homes focuses on core infill developments in locations that exhibit strong job growth and provide access to major job centers. The nationally award-winning homebuilder is part of the Trumark Group of Companies, a diversified real estate development and building firm that also includes: Trumark Communities, a residential land development platform; Trumark Commercial, which builds, leases and sells commercial buildings; and Trumark Urban, a vertically integrated residential developer focused on core urban neighborhoods. For more information, visit

Apr 19

Tips for an Eco-Friendly Home

With Earth Day right around the corner, it’s the perfect time to make some changes to cut back on waste and energy consumption. Caring for the environment doesn’t have to be costly or require big changes. Here are some simple and easy tips decrease your carbon footprint and make your home more eco-friendly!

Tip 1: Opt for ENERGY STAR appliances

Improve your home’s energy efficiency with ENERGY STAR appliances. These products can help to lower high energy bills, improve comfort and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. ENERGY STAR appliances are independently certified to save energy without sacrificing features or functionality. ENERGY STAR certifies a wide range of products such as washing machines, TVs, dishwashers, ceiling fans, and light bulbs.

Tip 2: Use CFL (compact fluorescent lamps) bulbs

Another small change that will significantly impact your energy consumption is switching to CFL bulbs. Incandescent light bulbs are the least efficient type of lighting because 90% of the energy the bulb uses is given off as heat and only about 10% results in light. By replacing your home’s incandescent light bulbs with CFL bulbs or any other bulbs certified by ENERGY STAR, you can save energy and money. These light bulbs can last anywhere from 3-25 times longer and come in many different colors and light levels.

Tip 3: Turn off the lights (sometimes)

The cost effectiveness of when to turn off lights depends on the type of lightbulbs you have. In some cases, it is more cost effective to leave them on since some bulbs’ operating life are dependent on how many times they are switched on and off.

For CFL lighting, the general rule of thumb is: if you will be out of a room for 15 minutes or less, leave it on; and if you will be out of a room for more than 15 minutes, turn it off. The operating life of LED lights is unaffected by turning it on and off. Incandescent bulbs should be turned off whenever they are not being used because they are the least efficient type of lighting.

Tip 4: Recycle properly

Recycling regulations differ from city to city, so make sure you comply with your own city’s recycling guide. The City of Chino Hills has developed a simply sorting guide that was designed to make recycling effortless for its residents. The City of Santa Ana has implemented several green programs to reduce its residents’ waste. For the residents of Dublin, the City had published an easy how-to-guide to help comply with recycling and garbage regulations.

Tip 5: Grow Houseplants

Growing indoor houseplants is a great and easy way to improve the air quality of your home. NASA published a list of “Top Ten Air Cleaning Plants”. This list features beautiful plants like the Peace Lily, which is known for its ability to filter toxins such as formaldehyde, benzene, and carbon monoxide from the surrounding air.

Tip 6: Switch to tankless water heaters

Tankless water heaters, also known instantaneous water heaters, provide hot water only as it is needed. Since they don’t produce the standby heat losses associated with storage water heaters, tankless water heaters can save a typical family $100 or more a year. Tankless water heaters also have a longer life expectancy than regular storage water heaters. Although installation of a new water heater may be tricky, many Trumark homes are now offering tankless water heaters installed in the garage.

Trumark Homes has taken a step towards building more eco-friendly and sustainable homes. Many of their homes have low-e glass vinyl-framed windows throughout, which can reduce energy loss by as much as 50%. These low-e windows have a special coating that increases energy efficiency, which allows sunlight to shine in but also suppresses heat flow. Additionally, many of Trumark homes also offer solar panel conduits in the attic as well as electrical vehicle conduits in the garage.


Apr 13

Steps Toward a Healthier and Happier Pup

Nothing is better than coming home after a long work day and being welcomed by your cuddly pooch. These fuzzy animals can improve our mood and reduce stress levels. One of the most popular pets in the US is dogs. Whether your pooch is a new puppy or an older dog, check out our tips to keep your dog happy and healthy!

Doggy Training

Attending an educational doggy training course can be fun and beneficial for you and your pooch. No matter how old your furry friend is, all dogs can learn new tricks. A positive training experience will also serve as a pivotal bonding moment between you and your dog. When choosing a dog trainer, it is essential that they use positive reinforcement such as treats, attention, praise or play.  There are many different class formats to choose from: private lessons, dog-only lessons, self-help training, and group lessons. Group classes are great because dogs can learn to respond to their owners despite distractions and can also learn to interact with other dogs.

Keep your dog active

Now that winter is over, it’s time to get your dog’s exercise back on track. Depending on what breed and how old your dog is, the amount and duration of recommended exercise varies. Most dogs need about 30 minutes of hard aerobic exercise daily. If your dog doesn’t get enough exercise, he may be at risk of becoming overweight, heart disease, or even respiratory disease. Dogs require year-round consistent exercise, however small apartments or intense seasonal weather conditions may make this difficult to achieve. In addition to daily walks, inside games like tug and fetch are great ways to stimulate your dog’s mind and body.

Healthy dog treats

Treats play an essential part in dog-parent life; therefore it’s important that you’re feeding Fido the best treats possible! Avoid dog treats that include unnecessary additives such as extra salt and sugar or artificial flavors. Choose treats that are protein-packed and minimally processed, like Stella & Chewy’s carnivore crunch. If you’re looking for a treat that also cleans your dog’s teeth and gums, Greenies are a great choice.

Create a sleeping sanctuary

An average adult dog needs about 12-14 hours of sleep per day, while puppies need as much as 18 hours of sleep per day. Quality sleep is just as important for dogs as it is for humans. Make sure your pup gets enough sleep by creating a sleeping sanctuary. While many dogs share the bed with their owner, it’s important for them to have their own designated sleeping space as well. Their beds should be placed in a quiet area away to ensure that they will have good, restful sleeps. Choose a cozy, dreamy dog bed that also includes a machine washable cover, so you able to keep the bed clean and fresh.

Quality toys

When your dog isn’t snoozing the day away, keep him engaged with a quality dog toy! The best dog toys are durable against teeth and claws, safe, and able to keep your dog preoccupied for prolonged periods of time. The Spurce named the KONG Wobbler Treat Dispensing Dog Toy as the best overall dog toy in 2018. This toy dispenses food and treats for hours of fun and can even be used as an alternative to a dog bowl to help slow and extend mealtime. The Wobbler’s twist-off dispenser makes it easy to fill and clean.

If you’re looking to adopt your own furry friend for National Pet Day, there are many lovable pets looking for their forever home at your local animal shelter. Before you bring your new furry friend home, check out our tips for creating a dog-friendly home.