On Saturday, my parents noticed a big puddle of water in the garage. We’ve had similar issues in there over the years, from leaks during heavy rain to other situations, but this seemed pretty heavy rather quickly. So, the outdoor water system was turned off and today we went out to dig up a bit of the front yard and (hopefully) find a simple sprinkler pipe leak.
Most of the heavy lifting and digging was done before I got there, but it was easy to see and feel where the water was pooling. The yard hadn’t been watered in days, but the ground was still a soppy mess in the corner pictured above. Leak-possibility aside, we have a moss that grows around the brick tiles there, and it flourishes in this corner because the sun never hits that spot of the yard. So, it makes sense that the soil never really dries out, but that still doesn’t quite explain the massive amount of water build-up… nor the sudden appearance in the garage, several feet away and separated by a cement walkway.
My dad is quick to think the worst and want to call someone in to confirm it, but I’m more of a tinkerer like my mom’s dad… I enjoy trying to figure things out, if I can. I ended up using an old plastic pitcher to pull the water out of the deepest corner of the yard, where the land slopes down and the water had all collected. I dumped about 1.5 gallons worth (5.67 liters, for you metric folks) into a metal bucket, which seems like a heck of a lot of water in light of the fact that nothing had been watered in days. After a few other little experiments to see if the water seemed to be rising from an outside source (it wasn’t), I told my dad to turn the sprinklers on so that we could check for any obvious leaks. No leaks were seen, but I did note that the planter next to the pool of water did get really full… and then, after that, I drained another 2-3 gallons of water over the course of an hour-and-a-half from the low spot in the yard, leaving it as you see below:
So, we’ll have to see where it goes from here. My current hypothesis is that the water from the planter is draining through the dirt into this corner of the yard, where the shade and moss covering keep it from evaporating, and the clay bed beneath the shallow soil and the fact that the ground dips low here help keep it in place… and maybe even drain into the garage. We’ve left the yard dug up, and I left my pitcher outside to pull out the puddling water in the yard as it drains from elsewhere… but if it’s still gathering tomorrow, that’ll all but confirm a leak elsewhere underground.
And that’s a little out of my casual-tinkerer league ;).