A guy from church accidentally ordered some N scale passenger cars which he passed on to me.
I had an old N scale layout which I did not really like so I removed it from it's plywood base and started over. Here is what I did.
Step 1: Foam Geography
I used Unitrack because it is easy and the layout doesn't need to be as flat. The 8 1/2 inch pieces make the smallest curve.
The insulation foam is easily cut with a serrated knife.
Layout the houses and pencil in the river. I carved layers of the foam for hills and gauged out the pond and stream. I glued the hill to the base, using white glue. Do not use epoxy, it will eat right through the foam. I sanded the edges.
The houses were printed on postcard sized card stock, made by Fiddlers Green. They were not very expensive.