Home is where the family is. And we believe family is both what you’re born into and what you choose. Mother’s Day is the perfect opportunity to get everyone together and celebrate all that our mothers – from biological and chosen, to pet, spiritual and work moms alike – do for us. This Mother’s Day, we’re celebrating the joyous spirit of Elza, the ultimate Terra Outdoor mother, who was part of our family for many years and whose legacy lives on.

Elza was a force of nature:

Elza’s family and friends gathered on a spring day in San Francisco in the beautiful Pacific Heights garden of Sarah, Elza’s daughter, her partner, Rogier (the mastermind behind the gorgeous garden makeover); and Mistra, their doodle. They all laughed, remembering how Elza became part of Terra Outdoor.

“One day, she came into the store in Mill Valley to buy a lounge chair,” said Steve, the owner of Terra Outdoor. “She looked around and said ‘You know what? I’m going to work here.’ Normally, we choose who we hire, but she chose us! She was a force of nature!”

elza and sarah in framed photos
sarah and rogier and elza
family photos mothers day

Joie de vivre:

Of Dutch heritage, Elza grew up in a horse training family. Her parents moved to San Francisco to manage the Golden Gate Park stables when she was 25 and she soon followed them.

She taught dressage for a living and met her husband at the stables. Soon after, they had their beloved daughter, Sarah. Many years later, Elza was diagnosed with cancer – twice. In fact, shortly after she began working at Terra, she told Steve, “I’ll probably be dead in six months.” But with all her joie de vivre and her memorably silent laugh, she lived resiliently for eight more years.

libby and young girl at table
mason table and presidio chairs
mother's day collage

Sarah, Elzas daughter:

Sarah and Elza were extremely close. Once Sarah was an adult, they spent their time together traveling, seeing friends, and enjoying great food and wine.

Of her mother, Sarah said, “She loved working with Terra! She was a true extrovert, so the people side of the job was super-fulfilling for her. She had such distinctive style. She always wore lots of silver bracelets and they made a sound we’ll never forget.”

“With its weathered teak and rope design, the Monte Rio furniture we chose for our garden would’ve been exactly her style.”

group conversation around Legends firetable

Terra Outdoor owner, Steve

“Before Elza died, she asked me to take care of Sarah, because she’s an only child. Sarah will always be a part of my family, just as Elza was, and still is.”

mothers day hug
rose and relaxation
mothers day mother daughter hug, pouring rose and hands on shoulders

Friend and Terra family member, Bernard:

“Elza shared her passions with everyone she knew. She taught me how to ride a horse.” Elza brought Bernard into the Terra family and he worked there for many years, even after she passed.

bernard, elza, monte rio in weathered teak, tahoe fire table and elaine smith pillows
Pacific Heights Garden
mobile crop for Pac Heights garden

A legacy of love:

It’s clear in honoring extraordinary Elza that your chosen family is just as important as your biological family. And that the role of a mother in a community is as someone who brings and keeps people together, fostering connections and nurturing those around her.

Even years after she is gone, she brings restorative joy to the people who loved her most. They can sit together, remember her and laugh, so it’s as if she is there with them again.