As you can tell by my elation in this pic, the concrete work in the back is done. I think the walls help to cozy up the space, and I'm glad to have some decent looking planting beds and a concrete pad that isn't buckling up. It looks 342% better.
The yard feels much larger, and despite it being gray block I like the feel of it. Some folks have suggested painting the block, but I like it the way it is. Frank Lloyd Wright was able to use concrete as a main material, and by mixing in other materials and textures was able to bring warmth to the space. This is what I'm hoping to do. I like the industrial/modern look of the material so I'm hoping to embrace it rather than attempt to hide it.
The raised beds in the back and on the side help to break up the space, and once I get some plants in it will help to add texture to the space. Wally has even gotten used to hopping in the bed to do his business, so once we fill it with dirt he is going to be one happy pup. Seeing as I used to own a landscape design company through college I'm excited to be able to have plants again. The current plan for plants is to use a Bloodgood Japanese Maple, some boxwoods, and black mondo grass. I'm not showing you the details on this yet. You'll have to be patient. :-)
The area around the A/C unit has 4 pressure treated posts set into the concrete. I'll pick up some lumber within the next couple of weeks and create a fence around this area to hide the unit, garbage cans, and any other crap that would otherwise clutter up the space. I'm still pondering over the fence and back gate design. I want it to have a modern look, but I want it to be easy to build. I'm also still debating what material to make the gate corral area out of. While I love the look of cedar and redwood, costs can be high and they require maintenance. The other end of the spectrum is pressure treated lumber, but I'd still have to stain it and deal with maintenance. I'm leaning toward material like trex, as it will have better strength properties that will resist warping and there is zero maintenance on the product.
I'm sure most folks would look at the back yard and would want more greenery and the open space that a place like the suburbs would provide, but for a yard in the city I am very pleased. I feel as if we've created an extra 450 sq ft of living space out of nothing. When you've only got 1300 sq ft to start with this feels like a big deal.