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Creating a Level/World

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Hello, I want to create a level/terrain for a 2d spaceship game I am working on and was wondering how I should go about it. What are the conventional approaches regarding both the management and graphics of the level? Right now I have a physics engine(Box2D) that takes polygons to create the physical bodies of the game objects. The polygons are determined by scanning the pixels of the sprite and tracing a contour of vertices. I suppose the world would require the same approach though the larger the image the slower the tracing and since I need the terrain to be destructible retracing on the run could get really slow. Also regarding the graphics, I think that drawing a detailed terrain for each level could get time consuming. Are there any techniques/advice to save time, how have others done it? Thanks.

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