Having started from humble beginnings, it won’t take long before you’ve started to tame your new island home in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Everyone’s living in houses, you’ve got more neighbours, there’s a museum and shops, and Resident Services is no longer a tent.
But now we learn of Tom Nook’s true goal: Project K. Just in case, I won’t spoil what his overall plan is, but the main aim of the game after the Resident Services Building is completed is to improve your island’s image, make it prettier, feel more lived in and more appealing to certain visitors. Having consulted with Isabelle, we’ve got a bunch of tips on how you can do just that.
We’ve got plenty of other walkthroughs and tips for Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and more on the way. Visit our game hub to check those out.
Check your an island evaluation with Isabelle
The first step is to get an island evaluation from Isabelle in the Resident Services Building. She’ll give you a star rating out of five, most likely starting at one star, unless you’ve been a particularly busy bee.
You can check with Isabelle what your rating is at any time, so if you think you’ve made some big enough changes, feel free to go and chat with her again.
How can you improve your island rating?
There’s a few key areas that Isabelle will push you to improve: residents, fences, outdoor decorations, fruit trees, and flowers. Every time you ask to check your island evaluation, she’ll also push you to improve one or more of these areas, so you can try to focus on one thing at a time as you play.
But, because this wouldn’t be much of a guide without them, we’ve outlined everything for you below and thrown in some tips on how to improve each area.
Add another resident to your island
This will be the first piece of advice she gives you, and it’s hot off the heels of having built the Campsite and had your first visitor to this island attraction. Chances are you’ll have invited that visitor to be your sixth island neighbour, which will have seen you talk to Tom Nook and set out a plot for their house. Now you need to add a seventh resident as well.
Any more islanders will require you to first speak to Tom Nook and then buy a plot of land for a new villager at the cost of 10,000 Bells – a bit cheeky, eh? Once you’ve done that, you’ll be able to head on an Island Tour with a Nook Miles Ticket and invite any animals you meet there to move in. You can also use an amiibo card at the Nook Stop terminal to bring animals to the tent and invite them to move, or simply wait a couple days and have the game have someone move in automatically.
Put up some fences
Fences are one of the many new things that you can create in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, helping you to section off outdoor areas and give a sense of organisation to your island. You’ll be encouraged to put up some fencing, and Tom Nook will have already given you a set of 50 plain fence sections to use how you see fit.
There’s plenty more fence designs available for Nook Miles at the Nook Stop terminal in the Resident Services building. For 1,000 Miles a pop, you get the DIY recipe to make bamboo or hay fences, wooden spikes, walls, and plenty more. Pick some out, craft them, and just put them wherever you fancy, whether it’s giving everyone on your island a front garden or creating a bizarre maze for visitors to your island to navigate.
Add more island scenery
Chances are that there’s still a lot of your island that’s basically untouched at this point, even if you’ve been spreading villagers out around the lands. The rest will likely have been left to the trees and even weeds if you’ve not done much tidying up! Your task now is to spruce it up with outdoor decorations, from beach to beach.
Nook’s Cranny will probably be your go to, with a daily range of items to peruse, but the Nook Stop terminal will also have recently been updated with a much wider range of DIY recipes and bespoke items for things like wind turbines, solar panels and giant Godzilla-style monsters. Those can be exchange for Nook Miles. DIY recipes will be printed out for you there and then, but you can order up to five of the pre-made items per day to be delivered the next morning.
You’ll also want keep an eye out for present balloons which occasionally float across your island, and just chat to your neighbours, many of whom are excited enough with what you’re trying to achieve that they’ll give you an item to help. Look, even a trash can will do the trick here!
The key thing here is really the volume of items that you add to your island, but it doesn’t hurt to either take your time and make sure things are what you’d actually want to have, or just have a bit of fun with it. Put a pyramid on the beach, pop a gnome out on the rocks by the sea, have a lifeguard chair overlooking a tiny pool.
Add more varieties of fruit tree
When you settle your island, it will have just a single type of fruit tree covering it and some cedar trees on higher ground, but variety is the spice of life, as they say. You’ll want to bring more types of fruit tree to your island anyway, because it’ll sell for a higher price at Nook’s Cranny, but if you’ve only got a couple of varieties, Isabelle will push you to go and get more to plant on your island.
You can get more from:
- Your mum’s letter that you received on your first day, gifting you three fruit.
- Going on island tours and bringing back fruit.
- Visiting other people’s islands and taking some fruit (with their permission!)
- Having other people send you fruit in the mail via Nintendo Switch Online
In total, there are apples, pears, peaches, oranges, cherries and coconuts. You want to plant a handful of each on your island, and they’ll take a few days to grow.
A faster way of doing this is to eat a fruit and gain super strength to dig up an entire tree and plant it on your island.
Grow loads of flowers!
People love pretty things, and flowers are pretty. Isabelle will ask you to go and plant flowers all over the island. Again, variety is going to play a part here, and you’ll want to try and spread little pools of flowers around the place, whether that in fenced off gardens, or alongside rivers.
You can get seeds from the cabinet in the top left corner of Nook’s Cranny, where they have a small selection of different flowers and colours. Simply plant these wherever you think they’ll fit, and make sure to water them to help them grow. Isabelle will tell you to water the flowers if they’re yet to bloom, which can take a couple days.
You can skip that wait, though. If you go on island tours, you’ll typically find a particular variety of flower spread out amongst the trees. Instead of picking the flowers, grab your shovel and dig them up to plant back at home, cutting out the wait for the seeds to germinate. Just beware that dug up flowers don’t stack like cut flowers do, so they’ll fill up your inventory pretty quickly.
If you keep plugging away at each of these four areas and regularly check in with Isabelle on where she things you need the most work, your island rating will climb from one star, to two, three and beyond in just a matter of days.
- Quick start guide to your new island life
- How to go swimming and diving in New Horizons
- All the Sea Creatures to catch in Animal Crossing: New Horizons
- Bringing Isabelle to your island and upgrade the Resident Services Building
- Sell bugs to Flick and commission insect models
- How to help Gulliver find his communicator parts
- Get cool new shoes when Kicks comes to town
- Daisy Mae and how to play the Stalk Market
- Change up your appearance and outfit
- How to use Amiibo with the Campsite & Photopia
- The 10 best new island names for Animal Crossing: New Horizons
- How to import custom clothes & art with NookLink QR Codes