Island Designer and Terraforming Unlock Walkthrough | ACNH - Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Switch)


This is a walkthrough guide for all needed Island Upgrades to unlock the Island Designer app in Animal Crossing: New Horizons (ACNH). Here you can see what upgrades you can make and how to unlock them.

Island Upgrades Walkthrough

This walkthrough explains how to unlock each upgrade for your Island, from each Facility to the Island Designer app. Click one of the links below to jump to a section in the walkthrough.

Walkthrough Chart

Click to Jump Ahead!
1 Unlock the Museum
2 Pay back the first loan (5,000 Miles)
3 Unlock Nook's Cranny
4 Upgrade Resident Services
5 Make the Campsite
6 Raise the Island's Star Rating
7 K.K. Slider's Show and Unlocking Island Designer

How to Use the Island Designer App

Unlocking Island Designer at a Glance

Days 1-6 (Click to Enlarge)

Island DesignerEnlarge

Days 7-12 (Click to Enlarge)

Island Designer 2Enlarge

Completing the First Day

Receive NookPhone.jpg
This guide will cover the steps you should take after getting your Nook Phone on the first day. Each section will list the required steps, leading up to unlocking the Island Designer. To learn everything you should do when just beginning, see the guide below.

Beginner's Guide to Animal Crossing New Horizons

Build the Museum (1st Day)

Building the Museum
1 Make a Fishing Rod and Net at Resident Services.
2 Hand 5 critters over to Tom Nook.
3 Decide where the museum will be built.
4 Make 15 more donations for an even bigger museum.

1. Make a Fishing Rod and Net at Resident Services

Fishing Rod
Once the payback of your first loan begins, the first thing you'll want to do is make a Flimsy Fishing Rod and a Flimsy Net.

Both of these recipes can be obtained by inspecting the DIY workbench at Resident Services and taking part in the DIY tutorial. Get the recipes for free and make the tools right away.

How to Get DIY Crafting Recipes | List of Recipes

2. Hand 5 Critters Over to Tom Nook


What do you receive for each critter you hand over?

Item Number Reward
1st Critter Critterpedia
2nd Critter Flimsy Axe and Wooden Furniture Recipes
3rd Critter Flower Seeds (Random Type)
4th Critter Flimsy Watering Can Recipe
5th Critter Museum Unlocked
After choosing a location, the museum will be open from the next day.

After giving a total of five bugs or fish to Nook, he will call his old friend Blathers, who will then come to the island to set up a pre-museum tent.

You will get an item or recipe each time you show him one of these, so first go out and get the five critters you want to show him, and don't sell them!

3. Choose the Museum's Location


The building will be finished the following day

You will need to give five creatures (bugs and fish) to Tom Nook, at which point you will be able to choose the location of the museum. After you do this, Blathers will come to your island from the next day, so start saving up things to donate!

The Museum Expands after 15 donations

After Blather's tent is set up and he comes to your island, he will ask you to make 15 donations (bugs/fish/fossils). Upon doing so, he will stop taking donations for that day, and the museum will undergo construction on the next day. On the day after that, the bigger museum will be completed.

How to Unlock the Museum

Pay Off 5,000 Miles (1st Day)

5000 Miles Loan

Repaying your loan
Get 5,000 Nook Miles and pay them to Tom Nook.

In return for setting you up on the island, Tom Nook asks for 5,000 Miles as payment. Gathering 5,000 Miles is very easy if you do Mileage Program Activities, so you should be able to do this pretty fast.

Press ZL and check activities to see all of the different things you can do to gain miles. Picking weeds, fishing, and catching bugs will help set you on the right path.

Read the guide below for the most effecient methods to gain Miles.

How to Get Nook Miles Fast

Once you finish paying the 5,000 Nook Miles, be sure and ask Tom Nook to upgrade your house right away. This will give you access to Nook Miles exclusive items, which can be purchased from the Nook Stop terminal.

Build Nook's Cranny (2nd Day)

Nintendo Direct - Nooks Cranny

Unlocking Nook's Cranny
1 Gather 30 of each required material.
2 Decide on the shop's location.

Gather 30 of Each Required Material

Required Materials Quantity
Wood 30
Iron Nugget

In order to unlock Nook's Cranny, you first need to gather up 30 of each required material from the list above.

Wood and stones, etc, will be dropped from trees and rocks once per day, so in order to build a ton of furniture and tools, be collect a lot of materials right away!

Build a shovel

Tour Rocks.png

Just like in the image above, digging two holes behind you is a way to prevent knockback when hitting the rocks. This will allow you to get all 8 materials from rocks, so we highly recommend first picking up a shovel, allowing you to dig the holes before mining precious materials.

How to Get the Flimsy Shovel | Flimsy Shovel Recipe

Sources of Materials (Can be farmed once per day)

Source of Material Material
Trees (Including Fruit Trees) ・Softwood
(3 of these materials)
Rocks ・Stones
・Iron Nuggets
(8 of these materials)
Very rarely, you will come across a Gold Nugget

Decide on a Location

Nooks Cranny Construction.jpg

After you have finally gotten all of the materials from above, you will be able to choose the shop's location. Anywhere open is fine, but since you'll be going there a lot, try and pick a spot near your own house! Talk to Timmy again after to complete the preparations.

To see more details on how to build Nook's Cranny, see the article below.

How to Unlock Nook's Cranny and Upgrade It

Upgrade Resident Services (~8th Day)

Before Getting New Villagers
1 Select where you would like the bridge to be built.
2 Choose where the villagers will live, and build their furniture.
3 After more villagers come, Resident Services will be upgraded.

Build a Bridge

Bridge Location

To build a Bridge, you first need to talk to Tom Nook after the shop has been built to get the Bridge Construction Kit.

After you get the DIY recipe, you need to gather these materials:

After you've made the kit, you need to find a place to build the Bridge use the kit from your inventory to place it.

How to Build a Bridge

Make Furniture for the Housing Kits

Housing Kit Furniture

After you've placed the bridge (it doesn't need to have been built), you can get 3 Housing Kits and the DIY recipes needed to make their Interior and Exterior Furniture.

Once you've placed the Housing Kit, you can check which items you need for the house to be built.

Note 1: After building all 3, you get 50x Simple Wooden Fencing.

Note 2: You need all 3 residents to move in to upgrade Resident Services.

Note 3: Only one resident will move in per day, so you will need to wait at least 3 days.

How to Get Furniture and Materials for House Kits

Example of Needed Items

The DIY recipes you get depends on the fruits and flowers on your island, but here's an example of what the Housing Kits require.

Plot 1 Housing Kit
Interior Items Pear Wardrobe
Pear Bed
Exterior Items Hay Bed
Swinging Bench

The Furniture needed for Housing Kit 1 would change depending on your local fruit.

Plot 2 Housing Kit
Interior Items Wooden-Block Stereo
Wooden-Block Table
Tulip Wreath
Exterior Items Natural Garden Chair
Natural Garden Table

The Flower Wreath needed for Housing Kit 2 will use the flowers growing on top of the cliffs on your island, so you'll need to make the Ladder to get them. You get the recipe for the Ladder when you get asked to place the Housing Kits.

How to Climb Cliffs

Plot 3 Housing Kit
Interior Items Wooden Simple Bed
Wooden Chair
Classic Pitcher
Exterior Items Log Garden Lounge
Log Stool
Water Pump

New Villagers Will Come to the Island

New Resident.jpg

In the days following the setup of the Housing Kits, new Villagers will come to the island each day, culminating in the upgrade of Resident Services.

First day One new Villager will move in
Second day A second new Villager will move in
Third day A third new Villager will move in
Fourth day The construction of the new Resident Services building will begin
Fifth day The new Resident Services building will open

At this point, the player will need to wait for the completion of this process to continue with upgrading the island. You can continue with other quests in the meantime, such as paying off your house loans and upgrading your house. Otherwise, it's possible to skip this process by changing the in-game Date and Time.

How to Change the Date and Time

Resident Services Will Be Upgraded

Resident Services Upgrade

After all 3 new residents move in, Nook will announce that the Resident Services will be upgraded from a tent to a building.

The day after, the building will be under construction and you'll be unable to enter, but the day after that, the Resident Services will open for business!

See our guide below for what services become available after you uprade the Resident Services.

What Can You Do At Resident Services?

Make the Campsite (~10th Day)


How to Build the Campsite

1 Craft the Campsite Construction Kit.
2 Place the Campsite.
3 Animals will start visiting.
4 Invite an animal to live on your island
5 Talk to Tom Nook for a new Housing Kit.
6 Place the Housing Kit

After expanding Resident Services, you'll be able to set a goal of raising the island's star rating in order to bring in K.K. Slider, a famous musician, for a live performance. First, you'll need to gather the required materials to build a campsite.

How to Unlock K.K. Slider and Request Songs

Materials needed to build the campsite

Required Materials/Amount
Wood IconWood (15) Softwood IconSoftwood (15) Hardwood IconHardwood (15) Iron Nugget IconIron Nugget (15)

Invite Visitors to Stay!

Invite to move to island.jpg
A day after building the Campsite, a visitor will come by to check it out. Talk to them and invite them to live on the island, then speak with Tom Nook about building their house.

The following day, that visitor will come to live on your island, so at least a day will need to pass before moving onto the next step.

How to Make the Campsite and How to Use an amiibo

Raise the Island's Star Rating (~11th Day)

How to Raise the Island's Star Rating

Requirement Best Method
1. Reach 8 Villagers Invite more Villagers to your island
2. Increase the number of Facilities Open the Museum and the Tailor Shop
3. Improve the scenery Place fencing and furniture
4. Improve the natural beauty Plant fruits trees and flowers
5. Make the island beautiful Clean up the weeds and garbage
6. Add landscape developments Build bridges and slopes around the island

The items above will help you increase your star rating. The exact amount of how many of these things you need to do is a bit tough to say, but putting in the effort to get each of these done should be enough for a 3-Star evaluation.

How to Raise Your Island's Star Rating

Increasing the Number of Villagers

Invite to Island.jpg

The first step is to make sure you have a total of 8 Villagers. Including yourself, there should already be 6 Villagers on the island, so adding just 2 more Villagers will reach the goal.

To add the final 2 Villagers, you'll need to talk to Tom Nook and select Let's talk about infrastructure. -> Sell land. This will allow you to purchase a new Housing Kit to set up anywhere on the island for 10,000 Bells. Fronting this cash might seem like a hassle, but as you'll receive 1,000 Miles as a reward when a new Villager moves in, it's well worth it.

Note that unlike the first 3 Housing Kits, you won't need to gather Furniture for any future Housing Kits.

If you've already got a ton of Nook Miles, you could also just try going on Mystery Tours and inviting the visitors you find there.

How to Get More Villagers

Increase the Number of Facilities


In order to raise the ranking of the island, it's absolutely necessary to have all of the Facilities built. Be sure that you haven't missed out on building the Museum and Able Sisters Tailor Shop up to this point. If you are unsure of how to unlock these facilites, see the links below.

Museum.jpgHow to Unlock the Museum Unlocked Able sisters.jpgHow to Unlock Able Sisters

Improve the Scenery


By placing fencing and furniture around the island, you can add to the scenery. It's difficult to define exactly what constitutes an improvement, but from our experiments, simply placing the 50 pieces of Simple wooden fencing which Tom Nook gives you for free, and around 10 pieces of Furniture around the island, was sufficient to reach a 3-Star Rating.

Improve the Natural Beauty

How to Plant Flowers header.png

Increasing the number of flowers and fruit trees on your island will add to its natural beauty. If you don't have friends to give you the fruit you don't already have, we recommend going on a Mystery Tour to collect some!

Mystery Island Tours and Nook Miles Ticket Guide

Make the Island Beautiful


Pick up trash and pluck weeds to restore your island's beauty. If you're fond of Time Travel (changing the date), you may find Weeds growing around the island after skipping far into the future. It might take a while, but it's time to overcome your reservations and pluck those weeds like there's no tomorrow.

Add Landscape Developments


By building bridges or slopes, you can further develop your island. You can request Tom Nook to make these structures at Resident Services, but keep in mind that they come at a high price. When focusing on these improvements, be sure to save up money while you complete other activities.

How to Get Bells (Money) Fast

K.K. Slider's Show and Unlocking Island Designer

K.K. Slider Show

If you raise the reputation of the island, you will be able host K.K. Slider's show.

1 Raise the island image to ★★★☆☆ and talk to Isabelle.
2 A message from K.K. Slider will arrive
3 The day after, you will be able to host K.K. Slider shows.
4 After hosting the first show, K.K. Slider shows will be held every Saturday.

Achieve an Island Ranking of 3 Stars

After reaching a Star Rating of 3 Stars, a message will arrive from K.K. Slider, and he will do a live performance sometime after the next day. After hosting the first show, K.K. Slider shows will be held every Saturday.

Where to find KK Slider and Request Songs

Get Island Designer After the Credits

Receive Island Designer app.jpg
While listening to K.K. Slider's performance, the credits will roll, and this is, in a sense, the end of the New Horizons story. After the credits end, you will be able to get the Island Designer app, allowing you to make big changes to the island's landscape.

Terraforming Guide | How to Use the Island Designer App

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12 Anonymous1 day

What about the 2 villagers that you need to sell land for?

11 Anonymousabout 1 month

In my experience, it seems that the museum is also required for Resident Services to be upgraded.

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    • >>[1751]
      I can help u but u posted 3 days ago my friend code is sw-5512-3912-7805 but we got to play together b4 I can mail u check out trading board lots of help there

    • >>[210907]
      I have 8 things from your WL on my island. Switch is at 13% so I'll have to log off soon

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