by: Joel Danto

You’ve heard about curb appeal, but what about backyard appeal?  Backyards are all too often the unsung heroes of a property.  Don’t just judge a book by its front cover, rather, why not judge it by it’s back instead?  From simple and thoughtful to playboy mansion grotto level hyperbolics, I’m going to run through our favorite backyards shot in 2021.  I’ll also point out the little things that make all the difference and can help you or your sellers send your properties to The Luxury Level of awesomeness.

  1. Smithcliffs Backyard


When I look at this photo one word comes to mind: flawless.  Every single aspect of this backyard has been thoughtfully designed and painstakingly manicured.  When shooting this backyard there was not a single angle that didn’t look good, but of all the ones I took – this one encapsulates it the best.  Single point perspective shot from 7 or 8 feet above ground gives the view added depth without using a special lens like a tilt-shift.  The pops of color and variety of foliage are fantastic and give a uniqueness to the space.  The framing of the windows and the simple lawn design really make the design feel organic.  And the icing on the cake – you feel like you’re in total privacy.


  1. Hancock Park Backyard

Let’s travel back in time with this backyard shot – oh about 100 years to 1926!  Back then, this was class, this was luxury – and I’d challenge you to tell me it’s lost that special touch.  Impressively tall outdoor curtains reflecting into the pool really make this backyard shine.  Couple that with a sculpture garden set against simple landscaping and you have a restrained elegance that any luxury homeowner would be jealous of.  In shooting backyards, it’s not all about showing everything – rather it’s about showing the space well.  That is why I shot this at almost 35mm, which gave the space a more compressed and thoughtful composition.


  1. Angelo Backyard

Newly constructed in 2021, Angelo is a perfect inflection point to the Hancock Park backyard.  This is modern elegance with a host of modern framing.  Again, many angles of this backyard could have been fantastic to shoot but this one is special because of how the trees and the pillars fit and balance.  Composition and layers tell the story of this space beautifully.  Squares and angled lines highlight the modern feel with a muted palette of blacks, whites and greens.  Everything here is simple yet thought out with a smart use of space.  Clean. Simple. Modern. Elegant.  That is the recipe for Luxury in today’s age as much as it was back in 1926.


  1. Loma Vista Backyard

Indoor-outdoor feel reigns supreme in this photo.  Modern homes can often feel restrained and vacant when it comes to backyard space but to me this hits differently.  Here we have six unique spaces that are accessible and enjoyable – all of which have direct access to the interior through enormous sliding glass doors.  Flow and pleasing design are key in a good “entertainers” backyard. This photo does the backyard perfect justice because of the leading lines and counterbalance of spaces.  It has that intangible essence of feeling right when you look at it (which is because of everything I just described).  It’s just a joy to look at and I hope you agree.


  1. Encino Backyard

At The Luxury Level, we shoot hundreds of new constructions every year – not because that happens to be what our clients have but more because new construction is luxury and that is something we are infinitely experienced with and clients seek out our expertise.  So picking a top 5 photo from amongst all of the great new constructions is mind numbingly hard.  But what sets this photo apart from the others are a few things: the architecture, the spacing, and the framing.  This is a “one shot says it all” situation.  Every single outdoor space can be seen, everything looks immaculate.  Everything you’d want to know about the backyard is here and the features of this backyard are just flat out eye-catching.  The large picture windows and sliding doors evoke a fantastic indoor outdoor feel.

A good backyard or exterior space can really make a house feel like a home. 

How many times have you seen pictures of empty backyards and felt a ping of sadness and numbingness? The same can be said for an unimpressive front yard.  Both can result in immense swings in emotion in the viewer, which is why you ultimately want to make the best assets of a home truly the very best.  The thing is, you may build it to look the best but if you don’t show it right then the effect isn’t completely realized.  Hiring the right professional to accomplish that job is crucial – whether that be The Luxury Level or someone else, make sure you’re doing it right.

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