How to improve your Animal Crossing: New Horizons island rating

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Eventually, you'll get to a point where improving your Animal Crossing: New Horizons island rating is top of your list. Speaking to Isabelle in Resident Services once it's upgraded to a house, you can ask her about island evaluation. She'll give you your current island rating - a star rating out of five - and also provide you with some feedback from those who live, and visit, your island. In order to unlock more for your island, you'll want to work your way towards a five-star island rating. 

It's not a quick process though, so you may need a few tips that will help to improve your Animal Crossing: New Horizons rating. Here are our top picks for making your island a five-star resort.

1. Focus on placing lots of outdoor items

(Image credit: Nintendo)

A huge part of Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the ability to (finally) place furniture and other decorative items outside your home. Thus, beautifying your island and transforming it from a few tents to a paradise of your own making is a real focus when it comes to improving your overall rating. 

You can craft new items using DIY workbenches, using recipes that you can find in bottles that wash up on the beach, float through the sky in presents tied to balloons, or as gifts from your fellow islanders. Recipes can also be purchased from the Nook Stop in the 'Redeem Nook Miles' section, and these are big-ticket items that will have quite the impact on your island. 

Moving away from recipes, you can just buy items ready-made from a number of places. Nook's Cranny - the Animal Crossing: New Horizons shop - has a daily rotating showcase of four or so pieces that you can just buy on the day and display straight away. 

Over at the 'Nook Shopping' section of the Nook Stop terminal in Resident Services, you can also buy ready-to-go items. Nook Shopping has the 'Special Goods' section, which has a daily rotating array of goods that you can purchase - although they will arrive the next day by post, and you're limited to five purchases per day. 

Nook Shopping also offers the chance to repurchase items you've previously bought too, via the three catalogue links under the 'Special Goods' section, which are broken down into furniture, fashion, and wallpaper/rugs/etc, along with a search functionality. Again, these are subject to the same restrictions as the 'Special Goods' section, where items will arrive the next day by post, and you're limited to a max of five deliveries. 

2. Variety is key

(Image credit: Nintendo)

While it might be tempting to keep placing the same old swing seat across your island, one of Isabelle's top tips is that - as always - variety is the spice of island life. When you're building out the overall exterior look of your island, try and use as many different items as possible. 

3. Fencing is important (and cute!)

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Once you've unlocked Animal Crossing: New Horizons fencing, you'll want to use it liberally to adorn your island. Think cute little penned in flower gardens, adding detail to villager homes, and more. You don't always have to complete a fence, it can just be a little addition to whatever you're creating. Whatever your look, fencing needs to be involved somehow if you really want to improve your Animal Crossing: New Horizons island rating. 

Remember, the recipes for two fencing types appear on the 'Redeem Nook Miles' section of the Nook Stop terminal in Resident Services each day. 

4.  Improve your infrastructure 

(Image credit: Nintendo)

As soon as you get the Animal Crossing: New Horizons Island Designer app, you can start really evolving your island to somewhat of a burgeoning metropolis. You can start painting roads - unlocking more terrain types via the Nook Stop - and you can upgrade to cliff creating, terrain manipulation and waterscaping too. It's all part of making your island really your own, and it's fun too!

5. Plant flowers and trees

(Image credit: Nintendo)

But it's not just about placing furniture and fencing on your island, you'll need to up the quota of natural flora on your island too. You can plant flowers and trees by buying seeds and saplings at Nook's Cranny. And, what's more, if you keep watering flowers and place different colours side by side, you can cross-breed them and create new colour varieties. You can tell which flowers you've watered by the fact those that have already been drenched will sparkle - your villagers will always help water flowers too. 

If you're looking to unlock more varieties - your island will only have a select range available, just like fruit types - you can scout out the availability on alternate islands. To do this, you can use Nook Miles Tickets purchased for 2,000 Miles from the Nook Stop at Resident Services, or co-ordinate with your Animal Crossing buddies for trading.

6. Remove weeds

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Ah weeds, the pests of the Animal Crossing series, and yes they're back for New Horizons. Having weeds - even though some of them are rather pretty - littering your island brings down the overall aesthetic quality, and will affect your rating. Go pull all those weeds immediately. Don't worry there are many Animal Crossing: New Horizons Nook Miles Rewards in it for you too. 

7. Keep up a constant flow of visitors

(Image credit: Nintendo)

The more visitors you have flocking to your island, the more feedback you'll receive, and the more good publicity you'll get. If you are able to, try and get as many critters passing through your campsite as possible. You can invite specific series' regulars using their amiibo or amiibo card, for example, but otherwise it's just a case of waiting for fresh faces to pay you a visit.  If someone is visiting your campsite on each day, Isabelle will let you know in the daily briefing. 

8. Try and attract more businesses 

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Now this, this is the big one. One thing Isabelle recommends as a means to improve your Animal Crossing: New Horizons island rating is to encourage new businesses to flock to your island. However, that's not exactly an easy task. But, what you can do is make sure you interact with any of the travelling salesfolk that rock up on your island. Think Sahara and her rugs, Kicks and his shoes, Flick and CJ with their bug and fish fetishes respectively, and you get the idea. Make friends with them, interact with them, buy from them, and it'll go a long way to improving what people think of your island. Even if they aren't ready to set up a permanent shack on your shores just yet. 

Sam Loveridge
Global Editor-in-Chief, GamesRadar+

Sam Loveridge is the Global Editor-in-Chief of GamesRadar, and joined the team in August 2017. Sam came to GamesRadar after working at TrustedReviews, Digital Spy, and Fandom, following the completion of an MA in Journalism. In her time, she's also had appearances on The Guardian, BBC, and more. Her experience has seen her cover console and PC games, along with gaming hardware, for a decade, and for GamesRadar, she's in charge of the site's overall direction, managing the team, and making sure it's the best it can be. Her gaming passions lie with weird simulation games, big open-world RPGs, and beautifully crafted indies. She plays across all platforms, and specializes in titles like Pokemon, Assassin's Creed, The Sims, and more. Basically, she loves all games that aren't sports or fighting titles! In her spare time, Sam likes to live like Stardew Valley by cooking and baking, growing vegetables, and enjoying life in the countryside.