Thanks Susan. Very thorough and helpful reply. I think the planting area/ground cover just might be the answer. Sounds like you know your stuff. Now if I can just get you to drive down from Virginia...............
.........Quote=Susan Schlenger;278224]Hi Paul,
If that pipe is perforated pvc, or similar, typically it is not installed with the idea of planting lawn over it. The pipe has to be placed close enough to the top of the grade to catch the water, otherwise it would not do the job. Usually the pipe is wrapped in filter fabric to prevent soil getting through the holes in the pipe, and the stone is laid over that.
If it is working correctly, I am going to assume that it was placed closer to the top than you are thinking. And if that is the case, there is not a lot of soil for the grass to grow in. In addition, the water is seeping through and the grass is not getting enough moisture.
So, what to do? Although the area is three feet away from the sidewalk, you might consider creating a planting bed, extending from the sidewalk just past the pipe. Make it curved with a nice shape. It does not have to be high maintenance or expensive, as you can plant it with mostly groundcover. If you use something like Ajuga, it will be pretty hardy. You can add a few shrubs in too.
I agree about covering the area with stone. A three foot wide area of stone would look weird. An area of stone just over the pipe going through the lawn would not look that great either and very difficlut to maintain. However, as an alternative, instead of planting the entire area (as I mentioned above) with the groundcover, you might consider planting the area between the pipe and the sidewalk and then adding the stone on top of the pipe area. At least then the stone would look like it was part of the planting bed.
I hope this was helpful.