Animal Crossing

8 best terraforming ideas for your Animal Crossing: New Horizons island

by Meg Bethany Koepp

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Terraforming is one of the new features brought to the Animal Crossing franchise. It allows New Horizons players to completely transform the rivers and cliffs on their islands, adding a fresh element of customization like never before.

Animal Crossing has always featured customization right from the get-go: the 2002 GameCube game let players create custom signs that could be placed around their town, and Wild World for the Nintendo DS introduced floor pattern placement which saw villagers lay them on the floor to make pathways. Paths have remained in the series ever since, with them becoming wildly popular in New Leaf on the 3DS because of the addition of QR codes – a feature that allowed custom designs to be shared across the world for the very first time.

However, New Horizons added a brand new element to the series in terraforming, giving players a fresh way to make their towns unique. As with any unfamiliar addition, it might seem daunting and overwhelming at first, especially if you don't have any good ideas. Worry not, though – we've got you covered with eight genius terraforming ideas to make your venture into landscaping a whole lot easier.

NOTE: Terraforming isn't unlocked until after K.K. Slider visits your island, so you'll need to complete that step first before you can transform your town.

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Clifftop museum

Nintendo (via Twitter: @triforcemeg)
Take your museum to new heights.

Collecting bugs and catching fish is one of the main elements of the Animal Crossing series, so why not make a spectacle of your museum to make it stand out above the rest?

Using your waterscaping tool to carve out the land and surround the building by water really adds to the effect of making visitors know that it's a place that's worth visiting – especially if it's swarming with critters.

Adding in waterfalls also makes it a sight to behold, and once done, you can fill out the landscape with trees, flowers, and outdoor furniture to make the area look even more beautiful.

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Valley

If this isn't one of the most creative terraforming ideas you've ever seen, we don't know what is. While players will obviously want to make their own houses one of the best on the entire island, having an entire valley filled with waterfalls and different sized cliffs leading up to it truly does take the cake.

With even the walkway surrounded by its own body of water, the stroll up to your house will make you feel majestic – after all, you are the town's Resident Representative, so why not reflect that in your design?

For added effect, you could even place flowers and items on the cliffs themselves to really jazz up the space and make it your own.

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Marketplace

Nintendo (via Animal Crossing: New Horizons group, Facebook)
You could add some City Folk marketplace vibes to your island.

City Folk for the Nintendo Wii added the marketplace which was only accessible by bus, and took players to a plaza with a plethora of shops. Now, you can have something similar on your Switch, if you so desire.

Using the cliffscaping tool to flesh out some hills and adding in a waterfall and a river makes for a beautiful divider between your Nook's Cranny and Able Sisters shops, which you can connect with a bridge – or even a stepping stone.

Add in some scenery like street lamps and other outdoor furniture and you'll have yourself a fully fledged marketplace where you can shop until you drop, in style.

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Neighborhood

While making your own house look dazzling is a top priority for many players, ensuring everyone else's abode is also stylish will also pull the design of your town together perfectly.

New Horizons finally introduced the ability to move villagers' houses wherever you want them, so grouping them together in a neighborhood is a great way of sectioning off your island and leaving the rest of it house-free for endless creations.

You can also spruce up your residential area with fences and furniture, and can customize the outside of houses to give everyone their own personalized front yards.

Zoo

Reddit: Lanky_Bank
Turn your town into the ultimate attraction by creating a zoo.

If you're on an island getaway, you'd half expect there to be some kind of attraction for tourists to go to. And after all, is it a holiday without visiting a zoo?

Using the various furniture items in the game can be used to replicate animals, such as baby and mama pandas, Mr and Mrs Flamingo, papa bears, and more.

If you've fished up a snapping turtle or two, you can also place them on the ground for a more 'real' vibe to your menagerie. Don't forget to fence them in!

Garden

Reddit: alibby
Decorate your island with gardens you and your villagers can escape to.

Everybody needs somewhere they can escape to when they need a break – even on an island getaway. Provide a space for villagers and visitors to unwind in by creating a relaxing garden.

Using many types of plants, such as trees, bushes, and flowers, will really calm down the area and make for somewhere people will really enjoy going to for some tranquility.

Outdoor furniture can jazz the space up, too. Especially if you add benches for visitors to sit and wind down in, and a record player with some calming music. You could use the terraforming tool to make some cliffs to close the area in for that 'secret' vibe.

Park

Reddit: Owen-Gaynondorf
A cute park provides somewhere for villagers to chill out in.

Along the same vein of relaxing spaces, making a park is another way of creating a place for everyone to loosen up in. Throwing in some benches for people to sit on and decorating with trees, flowers, and bushes is a must.

You could even make a playground for the kiddies by using outdoor furniture like a slide, climbing frame, and colorful springy ride-ons for them to enjoy.

Don't forget the park clock – after all, you need to be able to tell the time wherever you are.

Island entrance

Nintendo / Reddit: SailorKelsey_
Make visitors jealous by creating an epic entry into your town.

Having friends visit your island is a staple for many when playing Animal Crossing, whether it's to trade or catalog items, pick fruits, or simply hang out together. So why not make a legendary entryway and wow them as soon as they step out of your airport?

Reddit user 'SailorKelsey_' did just this, and it's something that people can take some serious inspo from. They opened their town with an epic set of waterfalls and a fountain plaza to really make a great first impression on guests.

You could also add in a bridge instead of a pathway across the water, and even craft an archway for an extra special effect.