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 10 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.
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.
— Junk Dog (@JunkusDoggus) March 25, 2020
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.
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.
— コルネット/cornet (@td03846938) March 28, 2020
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
We’ve all got a lighthouse on our island, right? Something needs to help guide the ships (unless you’re Gulliver, there’s no helping him), and in any case, it just looks neat.
Redditor ‘screelord‘ took their lighthouse game to the next level with their genius terraforming idea. Instead of just plonking it on the beach, they opted to create a seaside cliff just for the building, adding some extra flair.
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Surrounding it with pretty flowers and bushes adds a Studio Ghibli-esque feel to it, and makes an already-cool feature look even better.
This is a simple one, but it looks really cute – especially if your town has a forest or cottagecore theme. Stairs do look nice, but they don’t fit in with every type of layout or island design.
User ‘ajdude9‘ shared their tip for making ramps part of the actual cliffside rather than having them stick out. Simply terraform enough space into the side of the cliff to place a ramp there, and it’ll look like it’s part of the rock.
The outcome is reminiscent of the GameCube days with Population Growing where ramps would be built into the cliff naturally.