Planning your layout
A good start when planning is to read a few copies of the monthly magazines available and visit any model railway exhibitions currently on.
You could also pop into your local model railway shop and have a chat the staff explaining you are new to the hobby.
While at the shows have a chat with the operators of the layouts on show who would only be to happy to help you.
The DVD shown below will guide you through the stages required so you end up with the layout of your dreams. Peco also do a range of booklets covering all aspects of constructing and operating a model railway layout including wiring in great detail. The cost of the DVD is around £22 and the leaflet £1. (prices subject to changes)
Most manufactures of model railway stock have web sites and catalogues so make good use of them to see what is available taking note of sizes, colours, and of course price which you will need when planning.
Keep curves and gradiant gentle to ensure your trains will run well with full length of carriages or wagons
Ensure baseboards are totally flat particularly where point-work will be installed to eliminate derailment
Have the height from floor to baseboard suitable for working on and viewing the railway
Allow enough room for you to work on and friends to view when designing board layout