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Animal Crossing: New Horizons

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How to Use Island Designer

Seren Morgan-Roberts


This page will give you a brief explanation of the terraforming tools. For a more indepth walkthrough, head over to the Terraforming section of this guide, which has detailed pages on cliff-construction, waterscaping and pathing.

Island Designer Tool

First off, you’ll start with only a tool to place paths down. You’ll only have access to a Dirt path and to a Grass path (it acts as a path eraser). You can then save up Nook miles to buy the cliff-construction tool and the waterscaping tool, as well as extra path designs.

Function Cost (Nook Miles)
Waterscaping Permit 6,000
Cliff Construction Permit 6,000
Arched Tile Path 2,000
Brick Path 2,000
Dark Dirt Path 2,000
Terra-cotta Tile 2,000
Wooden Path 2,000
Stone Path 2,000
Sand Path 2,000
Custom Design Path 2,300

How to place a path

For now, this is how you place down the default dirt path design. Firstly, you’ll need to access the Island Designer app. After the introductory text, you’ll need to select that you want to begin island construction. After this, you’ll be forced to wear a little construction hat until you exit the app.

To begin placing down paths, press the + button and select the dirt path design. When you press A, you’ll be placing a path infront of your character. When you press A on a part of a path that’s at the end of a larger pathway, it will curve the edges. This won’t happen if the path block you’re altering is in the middle of the path, it will instead just delete the path block. If you want to delete a curved path edge, press A again and that will delete it.

(1 of 2) When you first place down a path the edges will be straight

When you first place down a path the edges will be straight (left), but you can also curve paths to create softer edges to your corners. (right)

For information on how to use the other Island Designer tools, head over to the Terraforming section of this guide for a detailed walkthrough of cliff-construction and waterscaping.


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Guide Information

  • Publisher
  • Platforms,
  • Genre
    Social simulation
  • Guide Release
    7 August 2020
  • Last Updated
    20 January 2022
    Version History
  • Guide Author
    Seren Morgan-Roberts

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The guide for Animal Crossing: New Horizons offers a walkthrough on how to make the most of your time on your deserted island. This guide will show you how to make tools, earn bells, achieve a five-star island, and more.

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