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

ACNH - How to Make Natural Rivers Banner.png

This is a guide on how to make natural-looking rivers in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. 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 Waterway Become Rivers.png

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.png

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.png

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 4.png
Round 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 - Step 1.png

Dig out a straight and diagonal river.
ACNH - How to Make Natural Diagonal - Step 2.png

Fill the side of the river with 3 squares as shown in the image.
ACNH - How to Make Natural Diagonal - Step 3.png

Round off the tip of the 3 squares.
ACNH - How to Make Natural Diagonal - Step 4.png

Create the same pattern from Step ② on the other side.
ACNH - How to Make Natural Diagonal - Step 5.png

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 Inspo.png
Bamboo Path
ACNH - Sakai Island River Inspo.png
Mini-Island
ACNH - Utsusemi Island River Inspo 1
Landbridge
ACNH - Utsusemi Island River Inspo 2
Waterfall Background
ACNH - Utsusemi Island River Inspo 3
Lake View
ACNH - Kohaku Island River Inpso 1
River Fork
ACNH - Kohaku Island River Inpso 2.png
River Accents
ACNH - Ocha Island River Inpso 1
Nature Corner
ACNH - Ocha Island River Inpso 2
Centerpiece Statue
ACNH - Ocha Island River Inpso 3
Branching Falls
ACNH - Makoi Island River Inpso 1
Waterfall Loop
ACNH - Makoi Island River Inpso 2
ACNH - Makoi Island River Inpso 3
Signboard
ACNH - Makoi Island River Inpso 4
Forked 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.png
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 make 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 Spawn 3x3.jpeg
Fish will only spawn on a minimum water area of 3x3 squares.
List of All Pond Fish
ACNH - Fish Will Still Spawn Reclaimed River Edge.jpeg
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 Mouth Fish Spawn.jpeg
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.

How to Waterscape Corners - 1.jpeg
You can round off the land perpendicular to two squares of water.
How to Waterscape Corners - 2.jpeg
You won't be able to create a corner adjacent to the one just made.
How to Waterscape Corners - 3.jpeg
Create a rounded off square by building land on the perpendicular space and digging it out again.
How to Waterscape Corners - 4.jpeg
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

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Reshape Your Island
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