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.
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?