Earning the coveted 5-star island rating in Animal Crossing: New Horizons is one of the most significant milestones a player could ever hope to achieve.
However, doing so can be quite tricky and requires you to invest a lot of time and resources to attract new villagers and improve your island’s reputation.
In this guide, we’ll show you how to get a 5-star rating and offer tips for unlocking island evaluations, increasing your rating, and unlocking 5-star rating rewards.
If you would like to learn more about island living, check out our ACNH tips and tricks guide to help get you started.
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How To Unlock Island Evaluations
A majority of New Horizons‘ tools and features are tied to progression, meaning you’ll have to complete specific tasks before you’re able to even request an island evaluation. To unlock island evaluations, make sure to complete the following:
- Construct Nook’s Cranny
- Build your first bridge
- Furnish three plots of land for new villagers
- Build the campground
- Invite the visiting villager to come live on your island
Once you’ve covered these steps, Tom Nook will reach out to let you know the next stage of his plan is in motion. From this point, you should be able to check your island’s current rating by speaking to Isabelle inside the Resident Services building.
What Counts Towards Your Island Rating
Although it can be hard to gauge what exactly is preventing you from reaching a 5-star rating, talking to Isabelle will point you in the right direction. Depending on your island’s current appearance, she’ll recommend you improve one or more of the following areas:
- Exterior furniture and decorations
- Flowers and trees planted
- Weed and trash removal
- Villager population size
This doesn’t mean you have to obsess on getting rid of every single weed or turn your island into a giant garden, but just remember to keep them in mind as you play. If you feel like there’s a part of your island you’ve been neglecting, spruce up the area with some flowers, a bench or two, and some fencing.
How To Get A 5-star Island Rating
Considering every island layout is different, and every player has a unique vision for how they want theirs to look, there’s no right or wrong way to go about improving your rating.
However, there are some general tips that can make things a lot easier. To boost your rating from 0, 2, or even 4-stars, keep the following in mind:
Use Nature In Moderation
While natural objects such as plants and flowers may count towards your rating, it’s easy to get carried away. Keep in mind that any tree or garden planted may be occupying valuable real estate you could use for furniture and decorations.
Instead of focusing on filling large areas with trees and flowers, try to use them to accent different sections throughout your island.
Perhaps create a path with trees on either side that lead to shops or other areas you want to highlight. Also, consider growing hybrid flowers to give your island more variety. Lastly, use fencing to determine the size and location of gardens instead of randomly planting them in different places.
Don’t Forget About Villagers Homes
It can be easy to get wrapped up in making fancy outdoor cafés and tranquility gardens, but remember to show the areas surrounding your villagers’ homes some love. The best way to do this is to give each villager their own yard with some fencing.
Decorate their yards with flowers, furniture, or items you think best represent their personality. This is a great way to get rid of seemingly random things you’ve accumulated over time and can go a long way towards making your island stand out from others.
Redeem Nook Miles For Items
While you may be encouraged to spend your miles on Nook Miles Tickets and Bell Vouchers, they can also be used to get an array of unique items that will make your island stand out. Many of these items are quite large and take up multiple tiles, meaning they count more towards your island rating.
Big-ticket items like the Lighthouse or the Monster Statue can be used to add some excitement or charm to different parts of your island. Since you’re always earning Nook Miles anyways, why not use them to enhance the look of your island.
Visit Other Islands
If you find yourself in need of some inspiration, try visiting a friend’s island or searching social media for some new ideas. You don’t have to copy what others have done but rather incorporate their themes and apply them in your own way.
While you’re visiting another player’s island, use it as an opportunity to trade DIY recipes with other places. Both of you are bound to have unwanted duplicates and can help each other fill out your catalogs.
Lastly, if your friend has already obtained a 5-star rating, ask them if they have any extra furniture they no longer want or need.
Don’t Neglect Beaches
The fact that you’re unable to modify your beaches or do any sort of terraforming is super disappointing. However, don’t use this as an excuse to neglect or straight up ignore them.
There’s a wide selection of beach-themed items you can buy or craft in New Horizons that can be used to decorate the sandier parts of your island.
Even if you don’t feel like having a traditional beach setup, try something out of the ordinary. Perhaps build an outdoor gym with various exercise equipment or a beachside restaurant where villagers can take a break from sunbathing.
It’s ultimately up to you to decide how normal or weird your island looks, so take advantage of your own creativity.
Rewards For Getting 5-star Rating
After investing countless hours decorating and modifying your island, your hard work will eventually pay off, and Isabelle will tell you the island has received a 5-star rating. As a reward for your dedication, she’ll give you a DIY recipe for the Golden Watering Can.
Like other golden tools, this watering can requires gold nuggets to craft and will last much longer before breaking.
Additionally, the Golden Watering Can is useful for getting stunning Golden Roses—an extremely rare flower type that has a chance of spawning when Black Roses are watered with the Golden Watering Can.
Lastly, for each day your island has a 5-star rating, there’s a chance you’ll find Lily of the Valley growing along your island’s cliffs. These unique flowers cannot be bred but can be replanted in different areas. They’re quite beautiful to look at and a great way to show off how proud you are of your island.