Drainage problem in small yard

I recently bought a new townhouse that has a small yard between the house and the garage. Most of the yard is a flagstone patio, but there is one 7x10 planter and a side yard by the garage that is 4x15. I have small dogs and wanted to have some grass for them to play in so I conditioned the soil in the side yard and laid sod. This went fine except that the ground is always a little mushy when you step on it. More on that in a sec.
The planter used to have many various plants and a waterfall in it. Everything was dead due to lack of water, so I dug it all out. The level of the planter was about 2 feet below the level of the brick surrounding the planter. I filled it up an extra foot with soil, planted some plants and a small tree around the edges. In the middle I laid more sod. Everything was beautiful for about a week. Then the grass started to die and I noticed a funky smell from the lawn. I did a little investigation and there was some mold around the plants. I then adjusted my watering schedule to twice a week for 10 minutes. Now everything is starting to die, but the ground is still wet.
Someone told me that I didn't have any drainage in the planter so everything was decomposing. There isn't any drain from the planter but I don't think the bottom of it is cement. I just figured the water would continue to soak down or evaporate.
Do I need better drainage in these 2 areas? If so, any ideas on how to drain the planter? The patio is level with the top of the planter with steps down to the garage. The wall around the planter is stucco.
Any advice is appreciated...
Thanks,
Lori
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are you sure that under the area where the water fall was there isnt a liner of some kind? dig down until you find what is holding the water. typically what people do is make a small hole, line it so it will accumulate the water and drop in a small pump which is triggered when water flows into it. a sump pump. Ingrid
snipped-for-privacy@thecenteroc.org (Lori) wrote:

Then the>grass started to die and I noticed a funky smell from the lawn. I did

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