I hope you will find the design you wish for your backyard.
I noticed your passion for nature and animals. I tried to take it into consideration and create a practical design that would steal the least of the time you would spend doing what you like.
I also considered that despite this, you prefer dog turf and hardscape. My concept was about keeping alive your experience, and your dog's experience, with nature while respecting your request.
So, how did I do that?
Well, first of all, if it has to be hardscape, then the best you can enjoy nature, is through different shapes and textures. Even colors. Shadows. Levels. I opted for mostly neutral stone-based materials for the light and airy feeling you desire.
Backyards are generally closely related to the interior space of the house. Usually you get out on a terrace, or you have certain windows to the backyards or gardens, generally. I wanted to take that relationship into consideration, no matter how small the backyard is.
You will find in my proposal a pathway created by stone blocks on pebbles. This goes from where you get out of the house, to the gate on the side, around the deck. The difference of the stones texture will give a very nice view from your dining, a comfy, relaxing feeling to your 'backyard' experience.
This pathway, is accompanied by a 'border' of white pebbles this time, where you can add some plants. Potted plants work perfectly. This border will make a good use of space, considering that you might never actually use the edge of your backyard, next to the fence.
As requested the dog turf is placed on NW corner. The dimensions are noted in the plan. If you find it suitable, you can add a tall plant there, like a smaller tree, for natural shadow and sound of the wind.
The pergola you want in backyard it will be a great addition, I think, and I wanted to treat it as one. Instead of all leveled, stone/ hardscape with a pergola, I wanted to create a certain space for it. Because you don't prefer grass I thought that too much stone will make your backyard look gloomy and far from the nature experience. Dogs usually are not happy in such environments.
I needed something warm while respecting your brief. I opted for materials. Why not a deck? Some wood would work perfect with the stone and the white pergola. Modern. Thinking of lighting, I suggest to try some floor lights on the deck. I imagine that it will be subtle enough for the whole backyard, an enjoyable experience and view at night. Please refer to the reference material submitted.
I also used wood for the border between the two types of pebbles, and for a mask for what I called 'utility area'. From the look of the pictures, you need such a space and I think you might need it after you remodel too.
You will notice I used simple, rectangular shapes. They are easy to work with and I understand you don't want complications.
Opposite to the dog turf, I thought about a different pavement corner, where you can place a bird bath. Maybe brick. The difference will give an identity to the corner, significance to the birds place, an important element in nature. It will not look like just-another-thing added to the backyard. It is a designated place.
Another important element that is adding up to the nature experience I thought of, are the plants. You can go for colorful plants that can make your backyard come alive. You will spend more time outside then inside. There is a large variety of plants that you can choose from. Go for colors, or greens if you prefer. Plant or cover their pots in the pebbles and don't worry about them. They will be enjoyable, fashionable, like a light to your backyard in their white pebbles. The installation you have in the back is also integrated (surrounded by) in the flowers border. I think it works well. The deck and pergola are further from the wall and I think it's better.
I have uploaded some Photoshop sketches to clarify the concept. A 3D sketch also gives a clearer image of the space.
I hope you will like it.
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