Yes, I completely understand the idea behind making something more appealing. To be competitive today it seems you must manipulate the images in this way. But really then it's no longer photography of real life but rather very close to photo manipulation in my opinion. And noone seems to care really. Your changes here might be small but ads for hotel rooms and beaty posters are today also called "photos" and yet they are edited heavily.
The thing that gives away the fake photos are strong black contrasting shadows, a specific green over-saturated tint of grass and the depth you mention created by ND gradients.
However if this works for you and you enjoy making your photos this way and many others appreciate it there is no reason for you to stop.
I just share my thoughts on something I see as problematic.