First, I would go about setting up user groups, as in the long-term it makes life easier. Lets say you have a simple case of an Internal and External user group for collaboration...
Then with these groups, you can manage the permissions on the space for each group (this doesn't change what pages they see, but it's useful to review what you give them)
To address your actual question: with the groups you can then start to organise your content in a logical structure that, ideally, limits the number of places you have to restrict access. Reading the Add of Remove Page Restrictions guide is helpful, and the gist of it is:
Hope that helps & good luck
And as a general point unrelated to access RE the page tree structure, I mostly use it now to restrict access and while I pay some effort on building out page trees, I find that it's better to think of Confluence in the same way you do Wikipedia -- how many times do people search content trees in Wikipedia (next to none); focus instead of naming pages in a way that people can search for what they need.
Yes! Groups all the way. This will make you life so much easier going forward. Also, to piggy back on what @Thomas Bowskill said it is important to understand what page restrictions actually do. I see it so many times that person A will add person B to a restricted page and they come to me asking why it is that person B still cannot see the page. Page restriction do not add permissions. Instead, they filter from the pool of people who would normally have access to the page were it to be unrestricted (because they have been given access to the space through space permissions) down to just a certain group of people. So, page restriction do not add permissions. They restrict (take away) permissions.
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