About a year ago and a half ago we had to have the top surface of our lawn pulled up and replaced. The contractor removed the topsoil and laid down sod. After a couple of months later the sod had failed due to drainage issues, as excess water standing water was killing the grass. The contractor pulled up the sod in the early spring, laid topsoil and tried seeding the lawn instead. The root cause was determined to be too much clay content in the sod's soil.
While the topsoil was up I got the contractor to replace the French drains in the yard as the existing system was a joke (a six-inch deep channel with a few pieces of gravel and an un-wrapped black drain pipe). The drains now seem to work well, so I don't think that is the problem - I watched them install the drains and they seemed to go by the book.
However the grass is still dying due to drainage issues. When I walk around on it the soil 'squelches' beneath my feet even if it hasn't rained for a few days.
The contractor keeps mentioning that because my back yard doesn't get much sunlight (it faces approx NNW and the house is on the south side) that it will always be difficult for the grass to grow, but our next door neighbor has exactly the same situation and they don't have drainage or growth issues. Before we had to remove the original lawn it grew just fine, and was never soggy.
I want to get the problem fixed, and need to educate myself so that the correct discussions can be held with the contractor. What sort of things should I start to look for? Is the soil the wrong type? Should the contractor have aerated the soil? I noticed that the neighbors grass is a much lighter green than ours, so was the wrong type of grass seed used?
Hope someone can help!