Tristan has been one of Sheaf Bank’s longest tenants and is also a key part of keeping Sheaf Bank looking smart as he maintains our planters around the estate. A while ago we caught up with him to find out more about him and his business.
Who is at Outside Design?
Its me, Dave and George. Dave started in 2020. He was working for another garden based company before with me, he also enjoys studying garden design. George also worked in gardening before.
When did Outside Design start?
I started as just myself – Tristian Swain in 1984 and then in 2010 I split the company and created Outside Design. Initially I was a domestic gardening company. In 2010 it had got to the point where I was doing work for commercial businesses, so I wanted to become something that wasn’t just my name – more business like. Outside Design is a limited company and it helped me move away from domestic settings.
How did you get into landscaping and garden design?
It was something that I did at home. When I left school there was a lot of people unemployment due to a recession and my first job was with a gardener for the summer. Then I was laid off in the winter and thought I would try it on my own – and here I am now!
Have you a favourite part of the business?
I always look forward to coming to work – apart from the business side of things, such as chasing up payments. I love working outside and I like doing different type of jobs where I am creating a new garden. I do enjoy maintaining gardens, but enjoy making bits of changes in people’s gardens. I am proud to maintain St Lukes Hospise in Sheffield. I have also worked in schools teaching children how to grow veg and enjoyed that too!
How do you get your business?
Now I don’t need to advertise as we have enough people that know of me. We have a website but word of mouth seems to be enough to keep us busy!
Outside of work?
My interests are following Sheffield United and we have two foster children now who are quite young. We have been fostering children for three years so that takes up quite a bit of my time. I do a bit of running!
When did you come to Sheaf Bank?
2002 – we came because a friend of mine came to see one of the first available units and he mentioned it to me! I like it because it is centrally based, secure, I get on with people here. I love Sheaf Bank. We have always been in the same unit. I’d only move if I needed more space – at one point I also rented a compound.
Over the 20 years of being at Sheaf Bank – what has changed the most
Upgrading mainly! Things were very basic when we moved in. It was also really overgrown when we moved in and I helped to clear the site. It was full of trees and brambles. You could hardly even drive down the entrance from Prospect Road as it was like an extension of the woodland by the railway!
Thinking of the future what is next?
In the past I have employed more people, but I am happy with the current size as we are now. I would like to continue in the space now. Maybe the younger generation might stay and become more part of the running of the business. In Sheffield there is less and less opportunity to get basic NVQ qualifications so it has been hard for me to think about apprenticeships, lots of the courses have finished due to lack of people being interested.
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