Hey, anon. First of all, I wouldn’t say it’s hard, it’s just very time consuming.
We’re lucky in New Leaf in that this time picking up patterns uses a different control than picking up items. In the old games, this led to always having to replace broken paths because of this.

So you want to path your town?

 First of all, I think it’s a good idea to decide whether you want to make a simple path, consisting of pretty much 1 kind of pattern, or a complex path, which might have 2+ patterns just for the path, not counting any decorative paths like water and stuff.

example of a simple path

aaand a complex path example

So let me just say that at this point you don’t need to know exactly which path you want to use, at this point you can just use a placeholder path. But now you know what your limitations will be, so you can at least imagine where a corner tile might go.

Trust me, putting down tiles is super boring work and sometimes frustrating when the patterns don’t drop where you want them too. Try doing a little bit each day, just building up on the path. Keep in mind the shortcuts you naturally take to each landmark.

The beauty of using a placeholder path, especially when you just want a simple path is that when you have decided which path you want to use, you can just scan that pattern in to the space where your placeholder path is- your whole path will change to this new pattern and you don’t have to set down a new path every time you want to change the design of your path. The same goes for complex paths but keep in mind you will be dealing with roughly 8-12 patterns so you will need to use another character to lay down paths if you are expecting to use more than 10 patterns.

Simple Pattern 
Easy to set up 
Flexible/easy to modify if a villager moves right over your path
Takes up minimal pattern storage
Easy to change the design
Can look boring and repetitive
Not very eye catching to visitors

Complex Pattern
Many different types to choose from fitting many different themes
Looks really good when finished
Very eye catching for visitors
Saves time if you want to change the design to something with the same amount of patterns
Takes a huge amount of time to set up
Uses up a lot of pattern space, for potentially multiple characters
If a villager moves over the path it will take a while to reconstruct

So yeah I’m sorry if this all sounds really jumbled, maybe in the future I’ll rewrite a better guide but I hope what I’ve said here at least helps somewhat!

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