This is probably my most requested guide/ tutorial, and there is no one right way to explain it. Everyone’s town is different, along with everyone’s tastes and preferences. Feel free to follow this to a T, do only a few steps, or ignore it altogether. This is just what I’ve gathered from my own experiences and watching other people plan/ build their towns. I won’t mind if you add a “Read More” when you reblog it. I know it’s a ridiculously long post. :x
Dreamies: Try to get most—if not all—of your dream villagers first. Knowing where their houses are will make landscaping much smoother since you won’t be worrying about someone moving into the middle of your orchard. Using a little (or a lot of) plot resetting will help their houses get in not-so-shitty spots.
Side Characters: If you’re going to have characters other than your mayor, go ahead and make their houses (or at least plan where they will be). This is for the same reason as getting your dreamies early on.
Hybrid Garden: Move your flowers to your beach and set up a hybrid garden, and plant any flowers you buy there. The beach is the best spot, because villagers can’t move there, obviously. This hybrid guide will be super helpful!
Stock Up: Start hoarding everything. Bells, axes, flowers, tree saplings, bush starts, furniture, etc. You can store them in your house, locker, museum, and/or beach to keep them off the town’s ground and away from dangerous house plots. Check out my Bell-Making Guide for money-making tips.
Town Theme: Most people have a general idea early on, but I felt like I should touch on it. Think of what kind of theme/ feel you want your town to have—i.e. modern, regal, zen, fairy tale, forest, etc. Knowing this will help you decide on wide or skinny paths, number of trees, color of flowers, and so on. Don’t feel pressured to have a theme, though. You can make a town without thinking, “This all has to look super modern!” Just design what you like!
Deforestation: Before you start laying down paths or PWP’s, you need to cut down every damn tree in your town. You can use all those axes you’ve been hoarding or a golden axe if you’ve gotten there. This will give you a blank slate to work with so seeing where paths and PWP’s can go will be 100x easier.
Putting Down Paths:
Wide and/or Skinny: There are two basic types of paths—wide and skinny. Wide paths take up two to three tiles, while skinny paths take up only one. Wider paths tend to give a more modern/ regal feel, and skinny paths tend to give a more natural/ forest feel to a town. Skinny paths are also useful in tight areas that you need to go through. You can use only one or a mix of both, but having an idea of which you’ll use will help with planning.
Find a Path: This is obviously a huge step. I have a fairly thorough mix of paths posted to my blog, but other blogs for finding paths include bidoofcrossing, merongcrossing, and acnlpaths. This would be the time to find waterway and grass designs if you’re planning on having those.
Planning: This is definitely optional, but it definitely helps. Take a screenshot of your town map and open it in Paint, or a similar program. Draw lines on your map to indicate where paths will go. You can use a red line to represent wide paths, a green line to represent skinny paths, a blue line to represent waterways, etc.
Actual Pathing: Now you can actually put down a path in your town! For the first go-around, it’s simpler to use one single-tile design so you can just put it down where you think you want your path. This way, you can tweak it without having to change three other designs along with it. Having a path with no dead ends that also connects the major parts of town is best. You can use skinny paths/ stepping stones to connect the wide path to smaller areas—like villagers’ houses in tight spaces, the campsite, PWP areas, etc. After all that, you can go in and lay down the pretty path you picked out earlier!
Too Many Designs: I get a lot of questions about this, so I figured I’d talk about it. You can only store 10 designs in your design slots, but some paths will take up all or more of those. If you want more than 10 designs, you’ll have to create another character to live in your town. You can have up to 4 characters, so you can have up to 40 designs—including paths, clothes, wallpapers, etc.
Public Works Projects:
Picking PWP’s: Obviously your thoughts on what PWP’s you want will change over time, but try to get a basic idea of the ones you like. There is a list here that tells you all the PWP’s, how much space they take up, and what villager personality will suggest them to you. Some might go along with the theme of your town more, so you can pinpoint those early on.
Planning: Once you’re done picking out your favorite PWP’s, you can start figuring out where they’ll go. Walk along your path/ look at your map and find spacious areas. Especially large spaces can be filled with parks (jungle gym, tire toy, water fountain, picnic blanket), gardens (statue fountain, topiaries), zen gardens (zen garden, zen bell, zen bench, zen streetlight), campground (campsite, fire pit, camping cot, log bench), etc. Smaller areas can have single PWP’s. Most can look fine on their own, and you can fill more space with trees, flowers, bushes, etc. a little later. Use a simple design to indicate where various PWP’s will go so you don’t forget and accidentally move a villager in on top of it.
Getting Suggestions: Villagers can be super annoying with not suggesting new PWP’s. To help the process along, use the diving trick. It might take a couple tries, but I promise you’ll get more suggestions this way.
Do the Damn Thing: Build the PWP’s!!! Obviously you can be building some while planning for others, so don’t get so caught up in planning and the diving trick that you forget to actually build those PWP’s.
Planning: Now that you have most of your villagers moved in and PWP’s at least planned out, you can start putting in pretty nature! You should have been hoarding trees and bushes while expanding your hybrid garden, so you should have plenty to work with. You still might need more though. In this case, use a simple design to indicate where trees or bushes will go eventually.
Lining Paths: The first step to giving your town “depth” is lining your paths with something—literally anything. If your town is more natural, use more trees. If your town is more modern, use more bushes and flowers. Just mix and match different things with different areas of path. Try not to mix too many different types of bushes in one area. If you do mix them, do it in a pattern of some kind.
Filling Around PWP’s: Now you can build on those areas with PWP’s. Larger spaces that you filled with a park or garden can be outlined just like you lined your paths. Inside the areas, you can fill it with flowers, a path/grass design, or just leave the natural grass! Around more secluded PWP’s, you can do the same thing on a smaller scale. For example, around a fountain put a mix of flowers on the first outline or two. Then do an outline of bushes around those flowers with a couple open spaces for entryways. You just took up so much space with just one PWP! So experiment with different areas and see what looks good. You can always rearrange everything later.
Flower Combinations: There are going to be several areas you’ll want to fill with flowers, and deciding what kind can be daunting. Like a lot of other things, experimentation is going to be a large part of this. As far as mixing breeds goes, combos that look nice together are cosmos and tulips, cosmos and violets, roses and tulips, and roses and lilies. As far as mixing colors go, combos that look nice together are anything and white, pink and yellow, pink and blue, purple and blue, yellow and orange, black and orange, and red and pink. Everyone’s taste is different, but these are combos I’ve seen that many people have liked.
Extra Space: You shouldn’t have much space left, but you can add some trees and flowers into weird areas right behind bigger buildings and whatnot. Putting out clothes and gifts for visitors to your dream town is really nice. Other things can fill up space are fruit baskets, tree stumps, mushrooms, songs, and candy.
Houses: Houses aren’t exactly “touches,” but you’ll be working on them all throughout your town building. Basically, just get an idea of what “theme” you want your houses/ rooms to have. Cute ideas I’ve seen are bedrooms, living rooms, kitchens, spas, offices, libraries, cafes, classrooms, convenience stores, flower shops, restaurants, and hotels.
Gifts: Putting out clothes and wrapped gifts for dream visitors is really nice. Good gifts include throwing beans, toy hammers, balloons, bubble wands, ice creams, and so on.
Carry On: Building your town will take months, and you’ll probably change your mind 293208 times on where you want this PWP or what kind of flowers you want in that area. You’ll probably be doing a mix of a few different steps at once, which is completely fine. Just don’t lose focus on enjoying the game! Build your encyclopedia, work towards your badges, interact with villagers, visit dream towns, etc. Have fun, and good luck!!!