While looking back through some photos from December, I found a few from a particularly rainy spell. I don't recall the rainfall totals, but it was many inches-- much more than usual, even for our area. Our yard generally does a pretty good job of handling south Alabama's periodic torrential downpours, but it has its limits. At some point, the soil can't absorb any more, and if there's nowhere for it to go, it puddles.
I'd observed at least once before that this part of our yard-- a portion of the northern strip of "sideyard"-- sits a little low and can tend to puddle in the heaviest rain.
This plot of land slopes gently to the south. There's even a little streambed down on our neighbors' property that fills after heavy rains; you can hear the gurgling water, if you walk along the property line, on those days. However, when we built up the land to create our septic pad and build our house, this little strip between the driveway and the house became the new low spot (for a small portion of land), and water now collects here.
With an average thunderstorm or rainy day, that's not a problem, but more exceptional rainfalls leave standing water. Fortunately, this doesn't happen that often, but it's something I'd still like to take some measures to address, if possible. I've already started by building up some of the lowest spots of this flower bed with more soil and adding gravel to one or two puddle-prone areas of the path (like this one just outside the personnel door of the garage).
I've also briefly considered the possibility of creating a trench of some sort to drain the water to another part of the yard, from whence it can join the main flow down the natural slope of the land. However, that seems like a fairly complicated project, given the current topography, so I'll probably hold off on that until/unless the puddles become a more frequent issue.