With gardening season in full swing, and the weather getting hot enough in some places to wilt your plants if they’re not watered, you might be noticing an increase in your water bill. And sure, you could opt for native, drought-resistant plants for yards and gardens to help save water—but you don’t need to rip out your landscaping in order to reduce your water bill. Instead, try employing some smart watering techniques.

Use a smart hose timer

One way to reduce watering costs is to set a timer so that your hose can turn on at the optimal time of day and for a planned amount of time. Using a smart hose timer allows you to time your sprinkler or other watering system. Many also have the option to delay your watering schedule in the event of rain to prevent double watering. You can use a smart hose time that connects to an app to keep track of your watering history and adjust to conserve water when you want to.

Water at the right time of day

Watering your garden or lawn in the middle of the day can cause more of the water you use to evaporate before it gets to your plants. Watering early in the morning, before the sun comes up—or late at night after the sun sets—can save you water by making sure more of the water from your hose makes it to your plants.

Consider drip irrigation

Since a sprinkler throws water droplets up into the air before they hit your plants, they can tend to use more water than a drip irrigation system or a soaker hose that rests on the ground and emits water directly onto the soil. A drip system also allows you to more precisely plan where you want to water, so if you have plants that need a lot of moisture, you can add a drip hose or soaker hose to those areas in particular.

Mulch your garden beds

To keep more moisture close to the soil and slow down the evaporation process, allowing more of your water to make it to the roots of your plants, add some mulch to the surface of your garden beds. To mulch, you can use grass clippings or leaves, which have the benefit of being free, or you can opt for wood mulch instead. You can also sometimes get free wood chips from Chip Drop for spreading in your garden—but be aware that you will end up with quite a large volume of chips, so plan ahead if you go this route.

Direct your rainwater

Rain is the cheapest of all irrigation methods. If you have downspouts that route water away from your foundation when it rains, you can add a downspout extension to aim your rainwater runoff towards your garden beds or particular plants that need more moisture. You can also choose to add a rain barrel with a downspout diverter if they’re allowed in your area, but make sure to check for local rainwater collection ordinances before installing one.

Use gray water

While you could opt to install a gray water recycling system in your bath or laundry drain to recycle water that’s been used for washing, that involves adding plumbing and sometimes can be expensive, depending on the complexity of the project. A simpler way to reuse your water is to use a basin when washing dishes and then use that basin to water your planters. If your washer drains into a slop sink through a hose instead of into a closed pipe, you can add a water collection tank to your washer, allowing you to reuse the water for plants after it’s been used for washing. In general, you should be careful not to use water with too much food waste in it—especially salt, meat, or dairy—to avoid causing issues for your plants.

Perform preventative maintenance

Check your hose connections that you use for watering as well as any buried lines for leaks on a regular basis. To check for leaks, look for excessively damp areas, especially when your sprinklers and valves are off. You can look for puddles or muddy areas that aren’t reduced by dry conditions in other places as well as spongy spots on your lawn. Replace your hose valves if you notice any water coming through when they’re turned off to prevent wasting water from leaky connections.