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What to know about terraforming in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Rivers, rivers everywhere.

animal crossing terraforming
Image: Josiah Motley / KnowTechie

Like many of you, I recently unlocked the ability to terraform my precious island in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Also, if you’re anything like me, you are frozen with indecisiveness on what to do first, how to do it, and what to plan for during your grand transformation.

To help you prepare for your terraforming adventure, we thought it would be a good idea to go over some of the basics, as well as some of the things to keep in mind as you start clearing dirt and making intricate river systems.

Also, there may be some spoilers in here, so keep that in mind.

How to unlock terraforming in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Ok, so if you haven’t already, unlocking terraforming is actually not terribly difficult. You just need to have a 3-star town rating to get K.K. Slider to perform a concert. You can check on your rating with Isabell.

To improve your island, adding flowers will improve your rating, as well as placing outdoor items around your island to improve your island’s looks.

animal crossing new horizons terraforming

Image: Josiah Motley / KnowTechie

Once K.K. Slider comes and goes the first time, you’ll gain access to basic terraforming, but you can get more features by visiting the Nook Stop and spending Nook Miles to get additional building permits. These permits include river and cliff sculpting, as well as different types of paths you can place down.

To start terraforming, open up your Nook Phone and click the Island Designer app in the middle.

You have your permits, now what?

Now, it’s time to start shaping your island! You can add walkways, new rivers, cliffs, and more. There are a couple things worth pointing out though as you plan your big projects.

For one, you can technically have four levels of cliffs, but the top level cannot be accessed. It’s something to keep in mind, but for most, it shouldn’t be an issue.

The bigger thing to pay attention to is the number of bridges and inclines you can have. While this is something Tom Nook helps you with, you can only have eight inclines and eight bridges active at one time. So plan your river and cliff systems accordingly.


There you have it a, a quick guide to terraforming in Animal Crossing: New Horizons! Now, get out here and start building.

What do you think? Still enjoying Animal Crossing: New Horizons? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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