So this weekend, our mains water pipe decided to bust itself open and leak like a crazy banshee across our front yard. That was awesome. To make it extra awesome, we noticed the leak yesterday and thought it was just a sprinkler acting up. So we ignored it. A few hours ago we came home to a large puddle forming on our driveway, and after pulling away some of that awful black plastic tarp that redevelopers love to put in yards, we discovered a bubbling fissure of water below the plants.
The lesson there is to never ignore a strange appearance of water, especially when it's in front of the yard, and especially when you live in Southern California. If water just appeared like that it wouldn't be so damn expensive.
On the plus side, I think we've saved the plants that were over the mains pipe. With the exception of a large, thick rooted bush that is already in the ground out back, they're sat in containers with loose soil protecting their roots, waiting to be replanted in a less pipe-y environment. Time will tell when it comes to their survival rate - I'm certainly not redirecting any extra water to landscaping. My intentions are to have a 100% native landscaped front yard (then we can finally smash the crappy sprinkler system to tiny pieces), and a similar outlook for the back yard. I suspect it will average out at 75%, as some useful plants take well to the climate without needing any additional liquid care.
The plumber is finishing up now (I hope), and with any luck, this is the only time this will happen. If you're looking for an emergency plumber in San Diego, I highly recommend Plaisted Plumbing - we called two other places and they couldn't get out to us until late in the afternoon (TOO BAD GUYS, NO MONEY FOR YOU), but this chap was more than willing to help us and arrived within the hour. In 86F heat. It's hard to find good skilled people to work on your house, so we'll definitely be using him in the future for non-emergencies.