We spent a few hours this weekend taking up grass and weeds from the perimeter of the yard. It now looks like this:
You can see the small mock-up of the wall at the bottom of the picture. I haven't quite decided how high to build it. If we go five bricks high, it is a good height for sitting, but we're not sure if that should be encouraged, given this scene a few months ago:
What we're doing in the yard: The wide swath of dirt where we removed the grass will be enclosed by a low brick wall on all sides to form a raised planting bed. We plan to also build a picket fence along the outside perimeter just inside the brick wall. Hopefully I'll have the next step of the process done in the next few days with some more uninteresting supplementary photos.