How to make roads in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Having roads on your island is a valuable way to make your land feel less like something from Robinson Crusoe and more like a scene from Swiss Family Robinson.

Taking your island from a deserted space to maintaining a thriving metropolis, as well as creating an expression of your true self, is the ultimate goal in Animal Crossing: New Horizons – but when you have Tom Nook as your island overlord – nothing comes easy or for free.

You need to show how much you are willing to work for these things, and your island landscape is a direct reflection of this.

Our guide will show you how to make roads in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. We’ll be covering: when you can begin to make roads, how to make roads and pathways, how to make custom paths, tips for using the Island Designer app and about ACNH QR codes

In order to start carving pathways in your tropical paradise, a number of things need to be accomplished before you are let loose to make changes to the land. You will also need a tool called ‘Island Designer‘. Read on to find out how to get it.

The ability to set down pathways marks the end of all the tasks you need to accomplish for Tom Nook. From this point on, your time is your own to get to grips with designing your island, improving the scenery and your prospects for a 5 star rating. 

On that note, another benefit of having paved the way to more freedom, is that pathways actually count as decoration, so will contribute to your overall island evaluation rating.

Paths are also recognised by your villagers, so they will make use of your efforts and not trample your flowers!


When can you make roads in Animal Crossing: New Horizons?

When can you make roads in Animal Crossing

Making pathways on Animal Crossing is typically the final part of playing the initial game, which is to complete Tom Nook’s tasks and get your island somewhat established. 

To build pathways you will need to unlock the Island Designer.

Once you have unlocked the Island Designer app on your Nook phone, you are able to ensure your in game time investment is worthwhile and really mould your island into shape – literally.

Before you can get to this stage, there are a series of steps that need to be taken before making this a path to reality… 

The ultimate goal is getting KK Slider, the superstar musician and his dulcet tones, to take notice of your island and come to play a gig. 

Tom Nook will talk about having KK Slider come to perform on your island and that you need to prepare for the concert that may happen.

This is when you know you are ready to undertake ‘Project K’ as directed by none other than Tom, of course.  

Here is a list of what you will need to do to unlock the Island Designer app.

1. Speak to Tom Nook once the new Resident Services building opens

Resident Services building

Go inside and Tom will express his excitement about a new project he would like you to help him with.

This is called ‘Project K’ and all the subsequent tasks come under this umbrella.

The aim is to get your island on the map and have KK Slider come and perform for you and your villagers. This chain of events sets the ball rolling to unlock the app as well as your artistic freedom. 

(KK Slider is the equivalent of Beyonce in the Animal Crossing world, so it’s kind of a big deal!)

2. Invite more visitors to come to your island


You will need to have your campsite set up for this, which will be given to you by Tom when the time is right. All you need to do is choose where you would like it to be situated.

Once it is built, you can start inviting people to stay!

You have the option to wait for them to arrive of their own accord or invite them yourself by using Animal Crossing: New Horizons amiibo, or amiibo cards.

Nook Stop Amiibo
How to use Amiibo

3. Convert those visitors into residents

You will need to increase your island population by inviting those who you meet either staying in your campsite, or from mystery island tours to come and live on your island.

You can have 10 villagers living on your island at any one time, so if you are not entirely satisfied with some of your new island dwellers when you are at full capacity, you can recruit another when one asks to leave.

This is where the amiibo feature comes in handy, it gives you more control of who you are inviting to live on your island as opposed to being randomly assigned one – if you don’t happen to fill the position yourself.

4. Upgrade your surroundings


Speak to Isabelle in resident services and find out your island rating.

You will need to have an island evaluation rating of 3 stars to encourage KK to visit.

If you are not quite there yet, keep following Isabelle’s instructions to improve your island and continue to check your progress as you play the game.

Usually she advises you to keep planting flowers, build fences or clear clutter to help build your overall score. 

Once you have your 3 star rating, KK slider will take notice of your island and will express interest to come and play live music.

When you have been graced with his presence and KK has completed his first concert the credits will roll.

KK Slider

Tom Nook will finally give you the island designer app. 

KK will then perform on your island in the plaza every weekend.

5. The Island designer app is unlocked

Island Designer app

Tom’s presentation of this accolade is a reward for your completion of the tasks he originally set out for you to develop your island. 

So well done for reaching this milestone in the game. You have officially been initiated into the Animal Crossing Island Designer Crew! Now you no longer have to get Tom Nook’s approval to make fundamental changes to your island.

By now you will be itching to get laying some paths to create some order and organisation to your land.

Grab your hard hat – and let’s get started.

How to make roads and pathways in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

How to make roads and pathways

Laying down the paths is super easy.

All you need to do is go on your Nook phone and open the Island Designer app.

It will make sure you are always wearing a hard hat when working (even on deserted islands you need to be mindful of health and safety)!

Opening Island Designer
1x1 tile on Island Designer
Laying paths on Island Designer

Then, select the path you wish to use by pressing the plus button, finally lay your path by pressing A.

It will appear as a 1×1 tile on the ground where you can build outwards from there, and continue to lay your path. 

If you make a mistake and need to erase something, you just press A again, and it will disappear. 

You can also round edges by pressing A again whilst in the spot where you have placed your tile.

Rounding corners on Island Designer

Rounding the corners of paths enables you to create circles or heart shapes as well as the traditional hard edges. Depending on the feel of your island or what type of path you are creating, the only limit is your imagination.

It takes a little while to get to get accustomed with, and you will likely make a few mistakes along the way. Fortunately with the steady pace that Animal Crossing is renowned for, these mistakes won’t cost you!

There is a handy tile in the right hand corner of your screen, showing which path you are currently using. 

Some basic paths are already installed in your app, but if you want more choice, you can buy more designs such as brick path and stone path from the Nook Terminal at Resident Services. These are deducted from your Nook Miles total. 

There are a total of 9 paths available, which will be displayed in your app as you fill them.

By using the Island Designer app you are also able to to terraform and create waterways on your island too!

These permits must first be purchased in the Nook Stop Terminal and will each set you back 6,000 Nook Miles. 

The waterscaping permit and cliff construction permit are definitely worth investing in if you want to truly unharness the licence to make structural changes to your island by adding/removing cliffs and waterways. 

Waterscaping permit - Island Designer
Cliff-construction permit - Island Designer

How to make custom paths in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

How to make custom paths in Animal Crossing
Custom Designs app

Feeling creative?

You can design your own custom design path using the Custom Design app.

Again, you will have to purchase the permit for the privilege (2300 NM), so keep working hard for those Nook Miles. 

Alternatively you can scour the design portal in the Able sisters tailor’s for different custom patterns and a path design that other gamers have uploaded for your use. You will need an online membership to access the designs.

To do this you will need to head over to the design kiosk in the Able sisters shop, and interact with it. 

Able Sisters shop
Design kiosk in Able sisters
Custom designs portal

You can search via design ID, creator ID or by certain criteria. Here they have custom designs that other players have submitted for your use. You are also able to upload your own designs to be shared and used by others. 

You can design your own on the Custom Designs app or as mentioned before – use an existing creation where it will be saved into a slot on your design page. 

A word of warning, if you replace a new design on top of an existing one, your new custom path will then show where your old one did.

So beware of this if you decide to overwrite one that you have set live on your island somewhere. 

Top tips for using the Island Designer in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Top tips for using Island Designer
  • You can use sand path to place palm trees anywhere on your island, not just the beach
  • The dark dirt path is good for flower beds because it looks like soil.
  • As well as paths, you can add roads and larger paved areas to create a more structured feel. 
  • You can’t use paths on the beach but you can put your custom design ones down.
  • You can use the designer app to access an existing custom path design or create your own and use it to make rugs, picnic blankets, a pattern or even a railroad.
  • Using different pathways designs can help separate your land out and add more of a varied terrain.
  • Alternatively, using the same pathway, adds symmetry and maintains your island theme throughout. 

Animal Crossing path QR codes

Animal Crossing path QR codes

There is also the option to use QR codes to upload paths to your Custom Designs app and use on your island.

Before you are able to use QR codes, you will need the following few things:

  • An online account
  • Nintendo switch online app for your smartphone
  • Unlock customer design pro-editor from the Nook Stop Terminal at Resident Services

Here is a great guide on how to use QR codes on Animal Crossing:New Horizons. 

Here are some great Animal Crossing qr codes with designs to get your started!

So there you have it folks, now you are able to follow the yellow brick road and find your path to success on your ACNH island journey.

Animal Crossing Explorer

Keep exploring!