It wasn’t until Suzanne Comaroto’s sister came down from Washington that she got serious about improving her backyard. The old oak tree had died. The roses weren’t doing well. The dirt was so hard, the plants were choking.
“My sister made a honey-do list for my gardner,” said Suzanne, owner of Move It Elsewhere, a warehouse filled with estate sale furnishings in San Jose. (It’s only open one weekend a month, and it’s open this weekend, June 11-13.) She rented her 1920s craftsman bungalow for 14 years before convincing the landlord to sell it to her three years ago.
Top on the list was replacing the brick on the curving path that was caked with old mortar, probably from a demolished fireplace. They handed the list to Suzanne’s longtime gardner, Carlos Arrioja, who owns the Los Gatos landscape business, “A Touch of Quality.”
He prepared the soil, lifted and replaced the brick, widened the path and mounded soil into berms to give the plantings some visual interest. He built a trellis at the back of the property to mirror the trellis attached to the back of the house.
“When I moved here, they touted, “Oh, you have an English garden,” Suzanne said. “Everyone said it was pretty. But it wasn’t interesting. There were no gates, no benches, no hand.”
The hand is a sculpture Carlos came across. He had to re-attach the broken thumb. And it has become the signature piece in the garden, adding a bit of whimsy.
“I really like that hand,” she said. “I had to have it.”
As owner of Move It Elsewhere, Suzanne has access to an endless parade of home and garden furnishings. And true to form, she bought her patio set from a client and painted it black. She also bought a broken two-tiered fountain that was cracked and didn’t hold water, and turned it into a planter.
The work was completed last September. This is the first spring to enjoy the blooms on her new flowers, including roses and bearded iris.
The only problem, she said, is that she’s so busy, she doesn’t get to spend much time relaxing in it.
“It’s beautiful,” she said, “ from my bedroom window.”
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