Answer: Grass that's thin and sparse isn't getting enough sunlight. Your best approach will be to dig up the area and amend the soil with some organic matter which will improve tilth and also help the soil retain moisture. Aged-compost is the best amendment in this case. Select a grass type that's suitable for shady conditions in your growing region, such as perennial rye, red fescue or creeping bent grass (or a combination). You can sow seed now (in autumn) so the natural rainfall will help it germinate. Thick, lush lawn is a result of regular maintenance, including feeding, watering and mowing. If this is impractical, you might consider a lawn substitute. There are many maintenance free groundcovers that would be suitable for the area you describe. An added bonus with groundcovers is that they sometimes flower.
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