Henriko's Amazing Mod List for Skyrim Special Edition 
Update 2020-06-21: I’m currently working on a completely revamped version of this mod list. It’s not quite ready yet but I’ll share more information on my Discord and on Nexus once it is. Cheers!
I got into Skyrim modding a while back and after a long time of testing different mods, seeing which ones work the best with other mods and how they affect performance and looks, I came up with this list that is "nearly perfect" - at least in terms of graphics and compatibility.
I run at a mostly stable 45-50 FPS outdoors, with the SkyrimSE Re-Engaged ENB on 'good' quality preset and built in settings set to 'Ultra' and the highest possible on 2560x1440 resolution, and stable 60 FPS indoors.
I have a GTX 970 4Gb and an Intel Core i7-4790K, so not really the most powerful gaming PC anymore. My friend tried this same list with his rig and got 60 FPS nearly everywhere outdoors as well, but he has a GTX 1060 6Gb and an AMD Ryzen 2500X. Either way, it's definitely playable for most people.
These mods are added to work with each other and not create incompatibilities with others, and I have yet to find any major incompatibilities in any of my playthroughs with these mods installed. Feel free to install / not install any of these mods as you like. Still, I recommend starting the game and playing for a bit after every 10-20 mods installed or so just to make sure everything is working as intended.
And one last thing, I also recommend that you use either Nexus Mod Manager or Mod Organizer 2. My experience with Vortex has been… troubled, to say the least (Load orders messing everything up hurts my soul). Anyways, enjoy!
Want to support me? Feel free to donate to me either through PayPal or become a Patron on Patreon. Thanks! <3
Also, join my Discord server! Over 1500 members and more joining every day. I’m usually online so you can easily reach me there if you have any questions. For skyrim related discussions please use the #skyrim-mods channel. 💖
The install order is from top to bottom, with the one at the top being installed and loaded first and so on:
SKSE64 (This is installed manually into the Skyrim folder. It’s very easy to install, just make sure you get the latest version.)
Static Mesh Improvement Mod - SMIM - Select “Everything”.
High Poly Project - I like the stone walls but they will be overwritten, sadly. If you want them, install this later (after you’ve selected lighting mod).
Open Cities Skyrim (Optional! This can cause serious problems with A.I mods or Skyrim Together. Don’t install this if you plan on using Skyrim Together or mods that are incompatible with Open Cities. Install Open Cities Patches later in the list if you decide to install this.)
SSE High Quality Music (This is a large download. Optional!)
NobleSkyrimMod HD-2K (“Full Pack “version)
LeanWolf’s Better-Shaped Weapons - Dragonborn + Dawnguard. Customize to your liking.
Skyrim 2020 Parallax (This is a very large download and includes hundreds of improved 4K textures)
Verdant - A Skyrim Grass Plugin + Snow Grass & OC Update Patch (I prefer this one over Veydosebrom because it has a much higher compatibility)
Kyne’s Grass - This is a new grass mod that has high compatibility and decent performance and also looks really nice. It’s a compilation of various other grass mods. The grass is taller than on other mods, so it might drown out some meshes unless you use landscape fixes for grass mods (later in the list).
RS Children Overhaul (Select USSEP Patch)
Immersive World Encounters SE + RS Children Patch and Open Cities Patch
No NPC Greetings (Special Edition) (Select the ‘recommended’ option in the installer)
SkyHUD - SkyHud Default
Enhanced Blood Textures SE skyBirds Long + Immersive Creatures Patch
Cloaks of Skyrim SSE + USSEP Patch (Select in the installer)
Real Mountains or Northfire's Photoreal Mountains 2 for SE or Majestic Mountains (I usually use BOTH Real Mountains and Northfire’s Photoreal Mountains 2, in that order, to get the best of both worlds. Majestic Mountains have caused issues with overly shiny rocks in the past.)
Realistic Aspen Trees SE - Flora Overhaul LOD unless you’re using a LOD generator
There are five good ways to go regarding lighting, in my opinion. Only install either A, B, C, D or E. I prefer to use B.
A. Better in some places, especially shadows. More customization.
Relighting Skyrim SSE (For accurate light sources)
Enhanced Lighting for ENB (ELE) SSE (Interiors)
CLARALUX SSE (Exteriors)
CLARALUX SSE Support Patches (In the installer > Select patches for all mods installed so far.)
B. Good lighting practically everywhere, however shadows are not always visible around light sources, flickering may occur and there is a bigger hit on performance than alternative A. Make sure to remove “fake lights” around braziers and lanterns or it may look strange.
Enhanced Lights and FX (All-around. Can be configured in installer. Install the options “Enhanced Lights and FX” and “ELFX - Exteriors”. Enhancer will make things very, very dark so beware!)
C. No longer updated but looks good. Close to no performance loss. Some light flickering.
D. Lightweight with high compatibility. Very playable brightness levels compared to the other alternatives.
Relighting Skyrim SSE (For accurate light sources)
E. No lighting mod at all! This ensures the highest compatibility of all options available, however it will result in normal Skyrim SE lighting which doesn’t look as realistic.
Smoking Torches and Candles (Do not install if you use lighting solution B.)
ELFX SMIM FPS Patch (Only install if you went for lighting solution B.)
Immersive Citizens - AI Overhaul SE + Patches for Open Cities and Enhanced Lighting for ENB if you are using lighting solution A.
Snazzy Furniture and Clutter Overhaul SE Mix-n-Match Plugin USSEP Version + Patches for the other installed mods (Alternate Start, Cutting Room Floor and Immersive Citizens)
RS Children Overhaul Compendium Fomod Installer (In the installer make sure to select Cutting Room Floor, Helgen Reborn and Solitude Expansion patches)
Blended Roads - “Really Blended” + “Really Blended SMIM”
Landscape Fixes For Grass Mods + Alternate Start LAL Patch + Cutting Room Floor Patch + Immersive Citizens Patch + Helgen Reborn Patch + Jk’s Towns Patch
Embers HD (Fireplaces Add-On)
Fluffy Snow - 2K + Blended Roads Patch + Majestic Mountains Patch + 3D Trees Patch (REQUIRES MAJESTIC MOUNTAINS!)
Blowing in the Wind Make sure to select Skyrim Special Edition in the installer + Lanterns of Skyrim Patch, The JK’s Patch, Helgen Reborn Patch, SMIM Merged All Patch (Should automatically be selected in the installer)
Vivid Weathers True Storms Compatibility Patch If you installed Vivid Weathers
Obsidian Weathers True Storms Compatibility Patch If you installed Obsidian Weathers
ELFX Fixes (If you installed ELFX earlier)
I highly recommend running the program LOOT, which automatically sets the load order of all your mods. It’s super easy to use with just the click of a button and it’s completely free.
Set everything to your liking. If you are encountering issues with snow, try disabling “Snow Shaders”.
Hide SkyUI - In case you want to play without SkyUI, as SkyUI is still a requirement for some mods in this list.
JK’s Skyrim No Lights Patch - If you are having issues with lighting being emitted from strange places in towns and cities.
Skyrim Is Windy - If you want the vegetation and other objects to sway in the wind.
Animation mods are very subjective and situational so I’ll leave that up to you!
Enjoy! If you have any questions or issues, feel free to contact me on Discord or here on the website forums :)