Disney Dreamlight Valley has reached my least favourite stage of every hit life sim—any game with a building system, really. It's the part where everyone's had a month to fiddle with the particulars of their builds and now I'm inescapably envious of everyone else's village.
Just one day into Dreamlight Valley, I did what I always do in games with a build system: I stripped the place down to the studs. Every decorative tree, bush, lamp post, and flowerpot got shoved in my inventory so I could squint at my canvas in peace. I've slowly started putting everything back: designing an orchard corner for all my fruit plants and trying to decide whether Remy's ostentatious house belonged in the little glade neighbourhood with Mickey and Goofy or if his wild city townhome belonged up in the plaza.
As it stands, I've only halfway rebuilt my Plaza and Peaceful Meadow areas, without so much as touching the beach, forest, or glade I've unlocked. That hasn't stopped me from surfing around social media looking for build inspiration though, and of course I'm drastically outclassed by these talented village planners. Here are some of the most inspo-worthy builds I've seen so far and the things I will absolutely be stealing from them:
Yannytokyo has single-handedly convinced me that curved paths are doable and totally worth the time investment. Dreamlight Valley's build system snaps to a grid, so of course I've been doing what I'm told and making paths full of right angles and just a bit of weaving to keep things looking not too tidy. Yannytokyo's builds look so casually cute by comparison, despite being very specifically shaped and lined with bushes.
I originally found AJayy's nice garden build for Wall-E but I think the Merlin speed build above is the inspiration I really needed. Once again, those path edges are getting covered up (this time with stones instead of bushes) and lots of colorful trees line the path to Merlin's tower and potions area. Appropriately, there's tons of purple going on in this build with those fir trees from the Forgotten Lands. I definitely need a reminder not to neglect colors other than green.
I finally got the Mickey Mouse fountain! How I wished it!😍😍😍😍😍😍😍 #DDLVCommunity #DDLV #DisneyDreamlightValley #Disney #MickeyMouse #acnh #gameloft #NintendoSwitch pic.twitter.com/QXVWbJzYg5September 27, 2022
Ylly's designs for the Plaza area are all very orderly, refined courtyards. I don't think I want to snatch this style specifically (the maximalist clutter is more my jam) but I particularly enjoy the octagonal bracket shape of those garden beds around the Mickey fountain. The muted color on those bushes is also a nice reminder that you really don't have to put Plaza bushes in the Plaza. You're free to mix plants and trees from any biome you like—whatever looks nice.
Autumn has fallen in the valley 🍂🌻 #DisneyDreamlightValley #DDLVCommunity #Disney pic.twitter.com/L4SQCNZDSVOctober 3, 2022
Speaking of maximalist, this autumn veggie garden by Cinnamon_Isle is delightfully stuffed with sunflowers, huge hay bales, barrels, and more. Like tons of other Dreamlight Valley screenshots you'll see going around on Twitter or Instagram, the color filters and angle are of course doing some lifting here. With all the trees stuffed in close to trellises, I get the feeling this build still looks super cozy from a player's perspective.
This Forest of Valor neighborhood build by HorribleGaming is one I'll be particularly cheating off of. I've gone for a neighborhood style on my own island, but I don't think I've sold myself on the shared back gardens concept I'm attempting. This build is all winding front pathways through the forest to connect the front doors of each villager's home. Much as I enjoy the central backyard, a central front area is probably easier for me, and all the villagers, to get around.
It's no surprise that several of these lovely builds come from players who also shared their builds in Animal Crossing, Stardew Valley, and The Sims 4 where maximalism also reign. From all of this I've learned: the key to cuteness is always more clutter.
Be careful with the cluttery stuffed look though. Dreamlight Valley does have a 600 object limit for your village, which includes villager houses, trees, bushes, and all those rock clusters that everyone's lining their paths with. You'll probably want to focus that energy into a few key areas of your island instead of cramming 100 bushes into just one section.
That's me back to building, then. Because my Plaza is still only half finished and I've not moved a single tree in the Forest of Valor yet.