Animal Crossing: New Horizons leaves you on an island and you would hope that you would one day be able to change every aspect of said island. With terraforming in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, you can place paths and even remove or add water and cliffs. In this Animal Crossing: New Horizons guide, we are going to go over how you can unlock terraforming and get permits for cliffs and water.


The island designer app, along with waterscaping and cliff-construction permits, let you use your shovel to customize the island. You can mold the land and water to your fancy.

Terraforming In Animal Crossing: New Horizons

To start terraforming in Animal Crossing New Horizons, you first need to unlock the Island Designer app. Tom Nook will gift you this app after K.K. Slider performs his first show on your island. To reach this milestone, focus on enhancing your island’s appeal. Build the museum, assist Timmy and Tommy in setting up Nook’s Cranny, encourage more residents to move to your island, and work towards achieving a three-star island ranking. After enjoying K.K. Slider’s concert, you will receive the Island Designer app, ready to start your terraforming adventure.

Path Types and Costs

Initially, the Island Designer app allows you to lay down grass and dirt paths. For more diversity, you can unlock additional path types. Visit the Nook Stop at Resident Services and spend 2,000 Nook Miles for each new path type. A customizable pathing option, where you can use a custom pattern as a path, is also available for the same price.

Unlocking Waterscaping and Cliff-Construction Permits:

You can expand your terraforming capabilities by unlocking waterscaping and cliff-construction permits. Each permit costs 6,000 Nook Miles and is available at the Nook Stop. With these permits, reshape your island’s landscape by creating intricate river systems, stunning waterfalls, and towering cliffs.

How to Terraform Using Island Designer In ACNH

Open your Nook Phone and select the Island Designer app. Your character will don a hardhat, signaling the beginning of construction work. Use the Plus button to switch between different designing tools, provided you have them unlocked. Create paths, modify cliffs, and redesign water bodies to transform your island into a masterpiece. Remember that paths will be removed if you later place a building over them, and you’ll need to hit a cliff edge twice to completely remove it.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons Terraforming

What To Do To Improve Ratings

Fill your town with 7-10 people. You will need to purchase and place plots from Tom Nook in order to do that. Residents move in slowly but you can visit a nearby island and recruit people. You can even use amibo.

Place furniture all over your island. Make cool gardens and beach hangouts. You can fill the island by buying or crafting items. You will need around 25 pieces of furniture placed outdoors in order to get the three-star rating that you are aiming for.

Isabelle can ask you to remove the weeds from the island and plant flowers. Note that you can get the desired 3-star rating even if you do not remove all the weeds on the island.

The Waterscaping and Cliff-Construction permits at the Nook Stop for 6,000 tickets each. That is all for our Animal Crossing: New Horizons terraforming guide. If you are interested in learning more about the game then you can check out our guide on how you can unlock all the different tools in the game. You can also check out our New Horizons guides hub for more content.