With the garden wrapping around the house on three sides, there was plenty of room for more than just a lawn, and the idea was to build a smaller layout first, and eventually expand it in both directions.
The area to the southeast of the house was still scarred from an excavator visiting in the fall of 2011, just after we bought the property. To the left is a steep slope down towards the river:
Towards the southwest it looked somewhat better. The old and rotten terrace was eventually demolished and a new terrace was built to fit the layout. More on this later:
The west corner is slightly lower than the rest of the lawn. Under the birch in the corner there will eventually be built a deck with a barbecue area in the center, and the railroad will pass around this on a curved wooden trestle, but this is well into the future: