Here is a thread where there are pictures of my kennels.
I would post them again, but photobucket is acting up on my computer through firefox, and with chromium I can get in, but I cannot copy links, so...
Anyhow, if you want to see some nice outdoor kennels check out the above thread.
Leaving a dog in a yard is dangerous, as dogs left to their own devices will become bored and will get themselves in trouble, therefore you need to make the area completely secure. This means, impossible to dig out of, ie, concrete base, impossible to climb over -- six feet tall, and covered over with fencing. Strong wire, 13 and 11 gage are not strong enough to keep a GSD in. 9 gage is heavier and it is what I use. More expensive, but worth it.
A kennel, 10' x 15', 14' x 20' however large you want to make it, will be easier to ensure that there is nothing growing in it that can be dangerous.
That box in my kennel there is 8' long by 4' wide and covered around three sides. It is like a cage. I put the house and the cot in there. They can also jump on top of them and lay up off the concrete.
Over the fencing on top, I put a sunscreen when it is not snow-season here. I use tie-wraps and put them up in May and take them down in October or November. They allow the rain to fall in the kennel so the weight of the water does not collapse the kennel like a tarp might do, but they provide protection from the sun.
I also use a bucket holder to ensure fresh water at all times.
And I have this in a securely fenced yard, so that even if I screw up and leave a gate unlatched, there is a second line of defense.
Where my neighbors might be in their yards, I have privacy fencing up so the dogs do not sound off at every movement they make.
My dogs have each other. A dog alone in a yard is likely to be bored and lonely. If this happens, then he will probably engage in nuisance behavior or have behavioral issues, like constant barking, scratching or biting on himself. This may not happen. I think most dogs can benefit from an outdoor kennel if it is properly built and the neighborhood is good. But some dogs are better off crated or penned up inside the house, basement, or garage for their own safety.