This is a guide on how to use the Island Designer app to terraform your island in Animal Crossing: New Horizons (ACNH) for the Nintendo Switch. Learn how to terraform your island using the different construction permits to modify cliffs, rivers, ponds, and waterfalls!
List of Contents
|Path Construction||Build roads and pathways
▶︎ How to Create Paths
▶︎ Top Custom Design Patterns for Paths, Floors and Ground
|Waterscaping||Create and modify rivers, ponds, and waterfalls
▶︎ How to Make Shaped Ponds
▶︎ How to Make Waterfalls
|Cliff Construction||Create and destroy cliffs|
You'll be able to freely create roads anywhere on the ground. In the untamed wilds of the deserted island, bring in a sense of order and civilization with clear roads paving out the environment and showing how to reach essential facilities and services.
How to Create Paths
To add a sense of variety to your town, you can use different kinds of roads for different purposes, so you can make an island that best fits your style.
|List of Path Permits and Cost|
Arched Tile Path Permit
Brick Path Permit
Dark Dirt Path Permit
Sand Path Permit
Stone Path Permit
Terra-Cotta Tile Permit
Wooden Path Permit
Custom Design Path Permit
Purchasing each of these path permits will allow you to build paths with the associated design.
Celestial Path designs by @julesjellyfish (Twitter)
The Custom Design Path Permit allows you to easily place custom design patterns on the ground.
Check out our top custom designs for paths and ground from users all over the world!
After you've unlocked the Waterscaping Permit, you can use your shovel to create and change the shape of rivers. If a river is too wide, you can make it more narrow, or change it to any shape you can dream of to make your island easier to live on.
|List of All River Fish||List of All Pond Fish|
When you have a river facing a cliff, you can create a waterfall at the top of the cliff to allow the river to pass through. You can combine the uses of the Cliff-Construction App and the Waterscaping App to get the best possible results.
|Enlarge Star-shaped pond||Enlarge Heart-shaped pond|
You can mess around with the Waterscaping Permit to create ponds of different shapes. If you're looking for some inspiration, check out our guide!
When you've unlocked the Cliff-Construction Permit, you can change the cliffs on your island to any shape that you like. If there's a cliff that's often in your way, you can push it back a bit or eliminate it altogether to better suit your new society.
You cannot modify the beach using the Island Designer. The best you could do is to place custom design patterns on them,
It is also not possible to change the shape of estuaries and beaches, so be careful when choosing your island layout at the start of the game.
Additionally, you cannot modify the rocks on the beach with the Island Designer, so take note of that when selecting your island layout.
You cannot move buildings using the Island Designer. You have to talk to Tom Nook at the construction consultation counter inside Resident Services.
Note that you need to have an upgraded Resident Services to use this feature.
You can move the location of all facilities except for the Airport and Resident Services, so select your island layout carefully when starting the game.
With the Cliff Construction Permit, you can build cliffs up to the 4th level, however, you can only climb up to the 3rd level. You also cannot place items on the 4th level.
Although you can make cliffs, you cannot make slopes or inclines to climb cliffs. You will need to have inclines constructed at the construction consultation counter inside Resident Services.
You can, however, use land to have make-shift bridges, but if you want it to look nice, then you can have bridges constructed instead.
|How to Build Slopes, Stairs and Inclines||How to Build and Destroy Bridges|
After you've unlocked the Island Designer App, all the relevant permits will become available at Nook Stop. Only the basic Construction Permit is available initially. You can buy each of the permits in exchange for Miles.
|Permit||How to Get and Usage|
|Island Designer Construction Permit||Unlock Island Designer
Building roads and pathways
|Waterscaping Permit||Purchase for 6000 Miles at Nook Stop
Creating and changing ponds, rivers, and waterfalls
|Cliff-Construction Permit||Purchase for 6000 Miles at Nook Stop
Creating and destroying cliffs
Purchasing the Waterscaping Permit and the Cliff-Construction Permit will allow you to perform different kinds of construction across the island. As the Waterscaping Permit will allow you to build land bridges across rivers, it's recommended to buy this right away after unlocking the Island Designer app.
On the other hand, the Cliff-Construction Permit does not allow the creation of slopes, so obtaining it has a somewhat lower priority.
|1||Unlock the Museum.|
|2||Repay your first loan of 5,000 Miles.|
|3||Unlock Nook's Cranny.|
|4||Set up the 3 house plots.|
|5||Make the Campsite.|
|6||Get your island rating to 3-stars.|
|7||Have K.K. Slider perform on your island.|
To unlock the Island Designer app, you will need to raise your Island Star Rating to 3 Stars. As this is essentially the last mission of the main story, you'll need to complete all the requirements up to this point in order for Island Designer to become available. Once K.K. Slider finishes his first performance, Tom Nook will call you to give you the Island Designer app.
Expect to spend a lot of time exploring the game and completing tasks for Tom Nook before Island Designer comes available. To learn what all you'll need to do, check out our full story guide below.
Island Upgrades Walkthrough
Once the first player, or the island representative, has unlocked Island Designer, other players on the island will automatically receive the app as well via phone call from Tom Nook.
The Island Designer App allows you to create roads and reshape the rivers and cliffs surrounding you. Transform your island into a deserted wasteland ruled by nature's grip, to a curated paradise with every detail tuned to your unique taste.
Both Terraforming and Landscaping are words used for changing the cliff, river and pond layout of your island.
Unlike previous games, you can re-shape most of your island as you wish in New Horizons. You could make it entirely flat, surround everything with rivers or even recreate landscapes from other games, the possibilities are endless!
To do all of this, however, you first need to get the Island Designer App from Tom Nook.
|Reshape Your Island|
|How Close Can You Plant Trees?||How to Chop Wood and Pull Up Trees|
|How to Get Palm Trees on Your Island||How to Get a Cherry Blossom Tree|
|How to Break Rocks||How to Plant Flowers|
|How to Build a Bridge||How to Build Slopes, Stairs and Inclines|
|How to Get More Housing Kits | Selling Plots of Land||How to Change the Island Tune|
|How to Use Island Designer||How to Create Paths|
|How to Make Shaped Ponds||How to Make Waterfalls|
|How to Keep Trees Small and Stop Tree Growth||All Building and Plot Sizes|
Can I use this app on my brother’s town? I have my own switch and my own town. Can I travel to a different Island and alter their islands? With their permission of course.
are there any limits to this feature? like are there areas in the island that you can't edit?
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