The first snow has started to fly across many parts of Canada which means that most dreaded of homeowner duties: driveway shovelling.

But tech-savvy homeowners have plenty of ways to make their driveways the envy of the neighbourhood, including devices that melt snow, pavers that absorb water, and sensors that alert homeowners to potential intruders. looked at five ways to bring technology to the driveway.

  1. Make snow shovelling a thing of the past: You may dread winter a little less if it didn't involve shovelling the driveway. Snow melting mats and cables can be installed under a new driveway to prevent ice and snow buildup. Just by flipping a switch, homeowners can send heated water and antifreeze into the cables to melt away the snow and prevent new ice from forming.
    The systems aren’t cheap and require a full rebuild of the driveway, but the systems can prevent slips and falls, and are particularly useful for those with limited mobility.
  2. Prevent flash floods with "green" concrete: The problem with traditional driveway materials such as asphalt or concrete is they divert rainwater into storm sewers and waterways, which can cause flash flooding, and pollution. But parking lot pavement made from permeable concrete allows rainwater to pass through into the soil. Like regular concrete, pervious concrete is made from small stones, called aggregate, and cement, but contains little, if any, sand. This results in a substantial number of open spaces that allows water to flow into the ground.
  3. Permeable paving stones for water conservation: Permeable paving stones are laid on a driveway in a way to allow water to drain through gaps into a bed of crushed stone, where it eventually seeps back into the ground. Like pervious concrete, permeable pavers prevent flooding runoff, easing pressure on storm drains.
  4. Motion detecting driveways: Driveway monitors make it possible for home and business owners to be instantly alerted when there's movement on or around their properties. The systems use an infrared alert sensor that detects motion up to 10 metres away and then sends an alert to a wireless receiver in your home, so you'll be prepared for unexpected knocks at the door, or unwanted trespassers on your property.
  5. Optimizing parking spaces with a car lift: A small property doesn't mean your very own parking space is out of the question. If money is no object, how about technology that will send one of your cars down an elevator so another vehicle can be parked over top? Custom car lifts lower vehicles into an underground space so that a second vehicle can move into the garage-floor-level parking space -- effectively doubling the size of your parking space.