My wife and I just moved into a house in Arkansas a few months ago and have noticed a few drainage issues with the back yard, it has roughly a 5 to 10 degree slope (east to west) and is fenced in. The soil is fairly hard and seems clay like at the surface. There is also a lack of grass at the moment.
The rain water will pool against the fence on the low side (West) of the yard and takes quite a while to soak into the soil in numerous places. The slope also causes loose silt and dirt to migrate towards the west side of the yard (down sloped side) during heavy rains.
I would like to fix this issue. The first thought is to till the land, fill in the low spots with some top soil, level the land slightly, and plant seed. I'm thinking that will help absorb the water faster. I would like to stray from such ideas as dry wells and re grading the land as I think they would be too costly.
My problems arises from the underground sprinkling system in the yard and some stray wires I found running underneath the cement slab patio to some point in the yard (I presume it is a wire for the underground sprinkler system). I have not followed the wires yet but they are only a few inches below the ground (if that) and are rather small in diameter.
I have read the sprinkler system should be around a foot underground, should I be concerned with that if hand till the lawn with one of those cultivating tools from Lowe's? Possibly using a rototiller? Is there a company or anything out there that can give me an idea where the sprinkler system runs (short of marking the heads and guessing/trial and error) and where these stray wires go to (something like a digger hotline, Arkansas one call only does utility type lines)?
Lastly, how do I prevent the rain from washing the new seed and soil towards the down hill side of the yard?