Game environments are not built with a ruler and some tape, they are built with imagination and an understanding of what is needed to make the game environment. If you take the time to learn about what you will need to do before you being the process, it will make for better results in less time with less work.
While traveling trough farm land the PCs come upon a merchant sitting on a wrecked wagon without a mule attached to it, hid face burrowed in his hands. He explains that he was robbed by petty goblins, unable to defend himself he had retreated. He asks the PCs to help him retrieve the mule before the goblins roast it, as a reward they may keep his goods. How hard can it be?