Meet the Leeds fashion model who quit his London life to launch a career in garden design
A fashion model from Leeds is breathing new life into his father-in-law's garden design business after quitting his jet-setting life in London.
Callum Ward, 25, has joined Shaun Malik, 56, in creating beautiful gardens and functional outdoor spaces across Yorkshire.
Callum has worked as a model since he was 16, scooping gigs for top brands including Zara, Tom Ford and Lacoste.
He found solace in landscaped gardens while living in the Capital, such as the Pergola gardens in Hampstead Heath and Holland Park's Kyoto Garden
When work dried up during the pandemic, he swapped his busy London life for the quieter pace of Calverley with his wife and toddler.
“I didn’t have a garden myself, of course, as no one does in London," Callum told the Yorkshire Evening Post.
"When I moved back up here, I had a beautiful garden that had been destroyed over the years as no one had looked after it. I started doing it up and experimenting with ideas, and Shaun noticed that.
“Before you knew it, it became my job - it was a natural, easy progression.”
Shaun has 20 years of experience as a garden designer and his business, Shaun's Outside, offers a full design and build package - from planting the seed of a new idea to overseeing the finest details of the build.
He praised his son-in-law for bringing new ideas to his designs, helping the business to meet the rising demands of clients during the pandemic.
Shaun said: “It’s reignited that passion, so you’re not stagnating as a business. It pushes ideas forward and because we’re father and son-in-in law, we get on anyway.
"All of a sudden we’re being asked back to do more work on a project that we initially thought was one job. We don’t feel like a boss and worker, we’re a team.”
The pandemic has thrown many challenges at independent businesses, but Shaun's Outside was busier than ever during lockdowns as people looked to utilise their outdoor spaces.
“It has certainly changed what people want from their gardens," Shaun added.
"It’s been a form of therapy, people are pottering around and getting more into plants.
"But people also want more usable space as they’ve not been going out so much - kitchen gardens, bar areas and pizza ovens. A little more fun and a space to get together as a family.
“We’re creating dreams."
Shaun and his team create a bespoke design for every project, tailor-made to the needs of the household.
They're currently working for a family with three teenage children, knocking down a garage to create a garden room that they can retreat to.
“I’m getting to see the whole process which I’m very grateful for," Callum said.
“We're designing for lifestyles, making gardens function and work well for a family. Every family needs a different garden. Being a designer, you can push and change things as people’s lives develop.
“If a design is too singular, you can miss opportunities. The other day, we were building a wall and we spotted an opportunity to put in a wall seat. If you’re just a designer, or just a builder, you wouldn’t spot that.
"We’re really creating an impact.”
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