Hypertension is a common comorbidity in patients with impaired kidney function. The kidney exerts a marked degree of control over blood pressure through various mechanisms, such as by regulating sodium balance and hormone secretion through the activity of the renin-angiotensin system. The kidney is susceptible to injury, and if already damaged can be at risk of further loss of function as a consequence of elevated blood pressure. Once elevated blood pressure is identified, a combination of sensible lifestyle measures, such as sodium restriction and weight loss, with pharmacological intervention to reduce blood pressure will usually achieve blood pressure goals. In this Review, we outline the importance of blood pressure control for patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), the mechanisms that affect blood pressure control, and the basis for non-drug and drug therapies. We further discuss the rationale for <140 mmHg systolic and <90 mmHg diastolic targets for blood pressure in patients with CKD, with consideration for tighter targets in the setting of proteinuria.