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How to get a 5-star island in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

In Animal Crossing: New Horizons, there’s no shortage of things to do. The mega-popular, quirky Nintendo sim has skyrocketed to the top of the sales charts, reaching nearly 35 million copies sold, while bringing together a healthy mix of newcomers and longtime fans of the series. And now that the 2.0 update and Happy Home Paradise DLC have launched, even more players will be returning to their tropical islands.

New Horizons tasks you with populating your island and customizing it with homes, shops, decorations, and inhabitants. As your island develops, you’ll likely want to start working on its rating, which is determined by meeting a long list of requirements. Your island’s rating can be anywhere from one to five stars. Interestingly, there’s an intricate points-based system on the backend, with various numbers tied to certain tasks you need to complete.

Unfortunately, the game doesn’t specifically tell you what you need to do to get to a five-star rating. But we’ve got a breakdown of all the requirements you need to meet to reach the coveted five-star rating, along with the rewards you earn for doing so.

Further reading

Island evaluation

Isabelle rating town in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

It’s true, New Horizons doesn’t exactly lay out the requirements to earn a five-star island. But if you go to Resident Services and speak to Isabelle, she’ll perform an island evaluation, which tells you your current rating. She also gives general advice for what you should do to increase the rating, along with testimonials from those who have visited the island.

These evaluations are certainly better than nothing, but they don’t have exact numbers or specifics, so it can be tough to gauge what to do next. Isabelle will also tell you if there’s anything causing your town rating to go down, like having too many trees or pieces of litter scattered.

How the points system works

Pretty much every decoration or item you place is worth points. Below is a list of everything you can do in the game and the associated point value:

  • Trees: 1 scenery point
  • Bushes: 0.5 scenery points
  • Flower sprouts: 0.5 scenery points
  • Flower buds: 0.7 scenery points
  • Flower stems: 0.7 scenery points
  • Fully grown flowers: 1 scenery point
  • Museum: 15 development points
  • Nook’s Cranny: 15 development points
  • Able Sisters: 15 development points
  • Furniture: 0.25 to 2 development points (depending on size and value)
  • Fewer than 100 weeds: 30 development points
  • Nine villagers: 15 development points
  • 10 villagers: 30 development points

Negative points

There are also conditions that can take away from your points in any given category. Below are negative point conditions you should be aware of.


If there are 15 items on the ground (or more), your island will be deemed as “too many items lying around” by Isabelle. These are items that come from actions caused by the player, such as fruit, trash, food, and pretty much anything you can keep in your inventory. Items that are in the game by default, such as tree branches, stones, shells, messages in bottles, and weeds, do not penalize your rating.

Moving around freely

You also need to be able to “move around freely,” which is determined by evaluating 8 x 8 tiles across your island (for a total of 64 tiles). If 45 (or more) of the 64 tiles are covered, you’ll be dinged, but keep in mind that only items will penalize you for this (buildings, trees, bridges, bodies of water, and rocks do not count).

Overabundance of trees

If your island has over 220 trees, Isabelle will tell you there is an “overabundance of trees.” Chop them down to reach 219 trees or fewer.

Requirements for each rating

Player around furinture in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Below is a breakdown of what’s required for each star rating:

1 star

  • Six villagers (or fewer)
  • 80 points in development (or fewer)
  • 200 points in scenery (or fewer)

2 stars

  • Seven villagers (or more)
  • 80 to 159 points in development
  • 200 to 269 points in scenery

3 stars

  • Eight villagers (or more)
  • 160 to 399 points in development
  • 270 to 349 points in scenery

4 stars

  • Eight villagers (or more)
  • 400 to 664 points in development
  • 350 to 449 points in scenery

5 stars

  • Eight villagers (or more)
  • 665 points in development (or more)
  • 450 points in scenery (or more)

Rewards for getting a five-star rating

Player watering flowers in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

When you finally reach a five-star rating, you’ll probably be wondering what the reward is for all your hard work. You get two rewards for getting to that point, and you’ll have to be the judge of if it’s worth it or not. It seems many players were hoping for more.

You’ll gain access to the Lily of the Valley flowers, which will begin to grow around your island’s cliffs as early as the next day after you reach five stars. This is the only way to acquire them, and they work a little differently than the rest of the flowers in the game. They don’t reproduce like you’d expect. Instead, you must wait for them to randomly bloom while you keep up your five-star rating. Some reports suggest each flower can take up to a week to bloom, so you’ll need to be patient.

The other item you’ll be rewarded with after reaching five stars is a DIY recipe for the Golden Watering Can. The Golden Watering Can is the only item that grants you access to golden roses and it allows you to water up to 200 times before breaking, making it the best of its kind. Unfortunately, it still breaks, so you’ll have to continue to craft as needed.

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Joseph Yaden
Joseph Yaden is a freelance journalist who covers Nintendo, shooters, and horror games. He mostly covers game guides for…
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