River Formations | How to Make Natural Rivers | ACNH - Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Switch)

ACNH - How to Make Natural Rivers

To make natural-looking rivers in Animal Crossing: New Horizons (ACNH), open your NookPhone and open the Island Designer app. Read on for a step-by-step guide to creating rivers, as well as some ideas you can try for your island.

How to Make Rivers

River Requirements

The game registers bodies of water created from the Island Designer app into either two kinds: Rivers and Ponds

Characteristics
River* Pond*
• Connected to a Waterfall
• Connected to an River Mouth
• Long and thin
Separated from other bodies of water
• Wide and large

Elongated Waterways Become Rivers

ACNH - Elongated waterways become rivers

So long as a a body of water has a portion that is thin and elongated, it will register as a river.

How to Make Shaped Ponds

How to Make a Natural Rivers

Winding Narrow Rivers

ACNH - How to Make Natural Winding Narrow Rivers - Step 1
First, dig out a 3 column river. *Then, create an alternating pattern of 3 land squares on both sides.
ACNH - How to Make Natural Winding Narrow Rivers - Step 2
Round off each of the corners.
How to Make Natural Winding Narrow Rivers - Step 3.jpeg
**Fill in corners with 2 squares.
How to Make Natural Winding Narrow Rivers - Step 4Round off the corners again.

*Be sure the leave 1 square at the top and bottom of the river.

**Make sure the corner does not connect to the 3 square pattern.

Diagonal Rivers

ACNH - How to Make Natural Diagonal Rivers - Step 1
Dig out a straight and diagonal river.
ACNH - How to Make Natural Diagonal Rivers - Step 2
Fill the side of the river with 3 squares as shown in the image.
ACNH - How to Make Natural Diagonal Rivers - Step 3
Round off the tip of the 3 squares.
ACNH - How to Make Natural Diagonal Rivers - Step 4
Create the same pattern from Step ② on the other side.
ACNH - How to Make Natural Diagonal Rivers - Step 5
Round off the tip again.

ACNH River Design and Layout Inspo

Gander at just some of the possibilities for your island! Click on the images for a detailed overview of the layout.

Images are posted with the consent of the author.

ACNH - Hakuho Island River InspoBamboo Path ACNH - Sakai Island River InspoMini-Island ACNH - Utsusemi Island River Inspo 1Landbridge
ACNH - Utsusemi Island River Inspo 2Waterfall Background ACNH - Utsusemi Island River Inspo 3Lake View ACNH - Kohaku Island River Inspo 1River Fork
ACNH - Kohaku Island River Inspo 2River Accents ACNH - Ocha Island River Inspo 1Nature Corner ACNH - Ocha Island River Inspo 2Centerpiece Statue
ACNH - Ocha Island River Inspo 3Branching Falls ACNH - Makoi Island River Inspo 1Waterfall Loop ACNH - Makoi Island River Inspo 2
ACNH - Makoi Island River Inspo 3Signboard ACNH - Makoi Island River Inspo 4Forked Waterfall

Bamboo Path ①

Island Name Hakuho Island
Creator @MNiithu

Connect your river to a waterfall for a more natural-looking landscape! You can also accent the area is bamboo trees and furniture for a tree-hugging vibe!

Mini-Island ②

Island Name Sakai Island
Creator @yuu_uu_sakai

Carve out some water around to create an island a scenic area. Sakai Island has theirs decorated with an industrial, wooden theme!

Landbridges ③

ACNH - Utsusemi Island River Inspo 1

Island Name Utsusemi Island
Creator @Natoo_nebanebai

If your river is too short, you can use a custom design to make a bridge perfect for you!

Waterfall Background ④

Island Name Utsusemi Island
Creator @Natoo_nebanebai

Create cliffs, rivers, and waterfalls behind a villager's home to give the area a scenic feel. Utsusemi Island a heavily decorated pathing to a villager home with a stunning background!

Lake View ⑤

Island Name Utsusemi Island
Creator @Natoo_nebanebai

Though there technically aren't any lakes in Animal Crossing, you can make you own with the Waterscape Lisence! Try adding mini-island in your lake too for a 3-dimensional touch!

River Fork ⑥

Island Name Kohaku Island
Creator @occy__island

You can create a river fork that separates one larger river into two! Kohaku Island also adds a nice touch by including mini-islands you can hop on to cross the river.

River Accents ⑦

Island Name Kohaku Island
Creator @occy__island

Instead of river crossing through a path, you can build a path across a river! Kohaku Island accessorizes it with their own custom designed tiles!

Nature Corner ⑧

Island Name Ocha Island
Creator @inu_ocka611

Create your own little nook of nature with a suspension bridge and a small waterfall! Ocha takes this a step further with a mini-island with its own custom designed flooring.

Centerpiece Statue ⑨

Island Name Ocha Island
Creator @inu_ocka611

Use a statue to accent the area. Ocha Island perfectly makes use of the Valiant Statue to up the elegance of the island!

Branching Falls ⑩

Island Name Ocha Island
Creator @inu_ocka611

Ocha Island also splits its river into falls for some dramatic pathing. You'll surely be blown away making you're way through the area!

Waterfall Loop ⑪

Island Name Makoi Island
Creator @Denim2_mori

Short on space? Check out Makoi Island's clever way to create an illusion of a larger waterfall without taking up too much space!

Just loop the waterway around the cliff and cover-up the gaps of land with flowers!

Curved Rivers ⑫

Island Name Makoi Island
Creator @Denim2_mori

Makoi Island also curves out its rivers for more dynamic waterways, decorated, of course with the pine trees and holly shurbs for the full Fall effect!

Signboard ⑬

Island Name Makoi Island
Creator @Denim2_mori

Use the a signboard to accent an area of the island or tell visitors what's in store for them! Makoi Island has their campsite sign on its own island for the best visibility.

Forked Waterfall ⑭

Island Name Makoi Island
Creator @Denim2_mori

If you built your river on a cliff, try addings a fork to separate it into two waterways! Makoi Island even built a waterfall with one of the forks!

How to Waterscape

Made with Waterscaping Permit

The Waterscaping Permit is a necesarry tool to make rivers, ponds, and waterfall on your island.

If you don't have the Waterscaping Permit or the Island Designer yet, follow our guide in the link below!

Island Designer and Terraforming Unlock Walkthrough

Things to Note

ACNH - Minimum water area for fish to spawn is 3x3 Fish will only spawn on a minimum water area of 3x3 squares.
List of All Pond Fish
ACNH - Fish will still spawn in reclaimed river edges Each island will have their own unique river mouths. Be sure to choose a layout you think has the best river mouths.
How to Choose the Best Island Layout
ACNH - River Fish will still spawn in river mouths Though you can't waterscape on the river mouth, you'll still be able to catch fish if you build land on the river's edge.
List of All River Mouth Fish

How to Round Off Corners

◯ represents the area that can be rounded off.

ACNH - How to Waterscape Corners You can round off the land perpendicular to two squares of water.
ACNH - How to Waterscape Corners You won't be able to create a corner adjacent to the one just made.
ACNH - How to Waterscape Corners Create a rounded off square by building land on the perpendicular space and digging it out again.
ACNH - How to Waterscape Corners Filling up a square of water next to rounded off corners will also fill out those corners with land.

Related Guides

Beginner

All Tips & Tricks

Reshape Your Island

Reshape Your Island
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