Grading

I know this has been covered before a bit but I thought I would drive people nuts by asking again....
We have a 50 by 50 back yard that is a true mess. To match it, we also have a sliver of land on the northern of the house that is horribly graded. It seems that a previous owner dug it all up to place into the ground drainage hoses but never properly filled the dirt back in. and the drainage hoses are useless...but more on that in a bit.
The backyard seems to have been graded to be more of a pond than a way to get water away from the house. We also have a large Mulberry tree in the south west corner of the space that was so big that it not only blocked just about all the sun from reaching the poor grass but also scraped the roof of our neighbors house. We cut it back dramatically last fall and have just under 2 cords of wood to show for it. There was also an attempt at some time to put in drainage tubing in the ground. I have found two drains that are supposedly connected all the way up to the front of the front yard (over 100 feet) but are hopelessly clogged...not to mention that the idiot bought the kind of tubing that is perforated so the water wouldn't go anywhere anyway. Needless to say I am going to yank it all out.
That said......
1) Since the space is so small, I would think grading it out to be more or less sloped away from the house is not that hard given a Bobcat (our driveway is not connected to the back yard), some rakes and a water level. Am I nuts?
2) For the side of the house, can I just throw some dirt and seed down or is there more that needs to be done?
3) Should I roll or tamp down the dirt or just throw seed on it?
4) I live just south west of Chicago...the soil is clay. Would I be better off throwing a few holes deep into the ground and running pipes into them for drainage or go through the aggravation of running hosing all the way to the front? That said, what is good depth to go down if I am going to do something like that?
Thanks
Dave
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As a landscaping professional, correcting poor drainage on this scale is not something I recommend a homeowner do on their own. And without seeing the property or how the water collects and is dispersed, it would be useless to offer any specific advice to correct. There are too many variables, including how the existing 'system' is connected, how runoff is directed both to and from neighboring yards, soil type and natural drainage conditions.and how the water is directed to storm drains or catch basins.
Look for a landscape contractor or LA that specializes in grading and drainage for at least an onsite consultation. You will then have a better idea if you can handle a project of this scope or if a professional should be called in.
btw, perforated pipe is very common in constructing French drains or other in-ground water collection systems. The perforations allow excess water to infiltrate the pipe and be carried downslope to catch basins or storm drains. The previous may not have been an idiot at all - just someone who bit off a larger project than he could chew.
pam - gardengal
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