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I moved into my current house May 2002. The house is in Wake Forest, NC, and the spring/summer/early fall of 2002 was very dry in this area. When I moved in, parts of the yard very hard and cracked, with little grass growing. The house is new construction, so there was no established yard. I figured, well, I can deal with a hard and cracked yard, and this fall once it starts raining and moistens up, I can aerate, fertilize, seed, etc... The problem, once we had the first big rain, the yard has stayed muddy ever since. If there is not standing water (always very shallow, more like a very wet look) then it is mushy. I have laid down a lot of seed, etc... and there is some new grass growing, but part of the yard is also sandy, and so I am not sure if grass is ever going to grow well in those spots.

The yard is high in the backyard, then slopes down to where the house is sitting, in kind of a levelled out area, and then the yard slopes down some more to the road. Many houses on this road have hugely inclined driveways, but mine is not too extreme, because my house sits down lower than the neighboring homes.

My questions & thoughts (here's where I am hoping someone with experience can comment)

If I get a good yard of grass growing, will that soak up this extra rain, or will the roots from the grass help the yard to better absorb the water?

Because my house is down lower than my two neighbors, is that going to give me all of their runoff?

I have got a couple of those underground drains running around the house, do I need to get more of them installed in the yard?

Should I stop with these assumptions since I admit I have low yard knowledge and defer to a landscape expert?

Here is a shot of the yard from the top of the back yard:

http://www.zerisdev.com/individual/steve/newhouse%20015.jpg

Here's a shot from the road:

http://www.zerisdev.com/individual/steve/newhouse%20018.jpg


In these shots, you can kind of see the "bowl" that the house sits down in. Is this "bowl" the problem? Does the builder need to take some intro grading classes?

Thanks for any and all feedback and advice

Steve
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