Chronic kidney disease is characterized by progressive loss of the renal microvasculature, which leads to local areas of hypoxia and induction of profibrotic responses, scarring and deterioration of renal function. Revascularization alone might be sufficient to restore kidney function and regenerate the structure of the diseased kidney. For revascularization to be successful, however, the underlying disease process needs to be halted or alleviated and there must remain a sufficient number of surviving nephron units that can serve as a scaffold for kidney regeneration. This Perspectives article describes how revascularization might be achieved using vascular growth factors or adoptive transfer of endothelial progenitor cells and provides a brief outline of the studies performed to date. An overview of how therapeutic strategies targeting the microvasculature could be enhanced in the future is also presented.