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Animal Crossing New Horizons Terraforming: How To Unlock Island Designer

Terraforming is an important part of Animal Crossing New Horizons. Here’s how you can unlock the Island Designer app to start Terraforming.

In Animal Crossing New Horizons the best new feature is Island Designer. It’s an app in the game inside Nook’s Phone that allows you to terraform your island as you like. Through this app, you can build new paths, water features, and cliffs or you can destroy them also is you want. By using these abilities you can build waterfalls, rivers, roads, plazas, and many more. It depends on you what you want to build and how creative you are.

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Below we have mentioned everything you need to know about this app(Island Designer), how to unlock it, and all its features and abilities.

How To Get Terraforming: Unlocking The Island Designer App

If you want to unlock Island Designer in Animal Crossing New Horizons You will have to take two weeks of playtime. You will have to unlock the Resident Services Building and you have to start Tom Nook’s Project K assignment, in which you have to:

  • First, you have to build a campsite.
  • Give the invitation to the first camper to come and live on your island.
  • Build three plots for houses.
  • Bring Villagers to shift into those houses.
  • Get a three-star rating for your island.

It will take a few days in order to complete Project K, you will have to spend time and do efforts in order to decorate your island and improve the rating of your island. To get three stars you will have to plant flowers and trees and put furniture around and improve your population number.

Once you get three stars for your island, you will get the island designer app by Tom Nook on your NookPhone. In the Start, only path tools will be accessible to you. Path tools have two types of paths ( grass and dirt), but there are more other paths, the water scaping tool, and the cliff construction tool which can be unlocked through Nook Miles.

Path Types and Unlock Cost:

There are many other path types that can be unlocked in addition to a new path that will cost you 2,000 Nike Miles and if you want the exception of the custom Design path it will cost you 2300 Nook Miles. You will able to unlock additional path styles at the Nook Stop machine in Resident Services.

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Here are all the path types you can unlock in the island designer app.

  • Grass (free)
  • Dirt path (free)
  • Stone path
  • Brick path
  • Dark dirt path
  • Arched tile path
  • Sand path
  • Terra-cotta tiles
  • Wooden path
  • Custom Design path
  • Unlocking the Water scaping and Cliff-construction permits.

Waterscaping and Cliff construction can be unlocked any time after you get the Island Designer app. You will have to get permits of waterscape and to build cliffs, each permit will cost 6000 Nook Miles, you can get this permit at Nook Stop Machine in Resident Services.

How to Terraform Using Island Designer In Animal Crossing New Horizons

In order to terraform your island through the Island Designer app, you will have to be familiar with all of its tools. There is a manual inside the app which will help you through the basics, you can operate each tool by using A, and you can change the permits and path types by using the + button.

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The Path tool in the app helps you to make and remove paths. If you press A in a plain or grassy area and a path will be built, and if you will press A again it will remove the path. Grass tool can be used to remove the paths. You can build different types of paths right next to each other, they will be built with a gap between them.

If there are a few same types of path” tiles” close to each other, If you will press A on them it will first round the path, and by pressing A again will completely remove the paths. It can be useful to create various shapes and rounded edges.

For instance, if you want to create a circle on the ground, you have to put four path tiles right next to one another in a square shape and then press A on them it will round them out.

Special Cases:

All the paths are not the same. You can only be able to dig into sand, dirt, and dark dirt paths. Flowers and trees can be planted on these paths. Other paths are solid but still, you will be able to put any item on them just like you do on grass, dirt or sand path. You will only find fossils in the grass so don’t cover all of your islands with paths.

Using Custom Design:

You can also make a custom design for the paths by downloading them once you have unlocked this ability by paying 2300 Nook Miles at the Nook Stop machine. This is very easy and comfortable rather than placing the designs one by one on the ground just like the previous game versions.

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The Custom designed paths work just like any other path, you can remove them any time by pressing Y. The custom-designed paths will be in level with one another even if they are different. A very complex path can be created by using different types of paths designs.

If you change a custom-designed path in Nook Phone App, the path you used with that will change with it. It will be easier for you to update your paths, you will have to redo all the paths again. so be sure to edit the right path.

Water scaping:

If you will press A on land a trench for water will be dug, and by pressing A again the trench will fill up. Waterscaping is the most tricky tool of the Island Designer app, You will need a lot of practice to use this tool. For example, if you want a sharp corner to be rounded out, the character should be placed a little bit back from the corner.

When you are building rivers on your island you have to keep it in your mind that a bridge span four water tiles. In order to support the bridge, the edges of the river should also have three or four water tiles.

Your character will be able to move across any water feature of one or two tiles wide. Through this you can make bridges across rivers, a piece of land in the middle of a river can be filled so that you can jump across it, The villagers will not be able to cross the river without bridges.

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When you are water scaping keep it in mind that you leave enough river in order to do fishing. If you want to do fishing you will need some river on the cliff section area especially to catch clifftop only fish.

Cliff Construction:

You can build or destroy a cliff from one level below, if there are multiple cliffs pieces right next to each other you can round them up just by pressing A. Three tiers of cliffs can be built on top of one another, you will only be able to climb the second tier, You can’t make big cliff walls because you can’t build new tiers right on the edge of the previous tier.

Villagers will not be able to climb cliffs without an incline, so be careful while placing the villager’s house on cliffs.


In order to build a waterfall, you will have to climb up the cliff where you want the waterfall to go down. Then use water scaping tools at the edge to build a waterfall. You must fill in the waterfall before you demolish the cliff it’s on.

Salal Awan

Salal's main hobby is photography but he is also interested in learning the latest about Technology including Smartphones and PC Hardware. He is the co-founder of Twisted Voxel and always on the lookout for the news.

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