Hello, wax2k. First, I wanted to say that I am very grateful for the information you've provided here. As one of the people that said I would read a tutorial from you on this subject if you chose to write one, I was very happy to see that you graciously took your free time to do so. My apologies if my question should be posted somewhere else, as it is not specifically about the settlement building mods, but more in general.
I am about to start a new game and since there was a recent patch, I decided to do everything fresh from scratch. After backing up copies of my save games, ini files, prior mods, etc. I wiped and reloaded the game from steam, and allowed it to create a new set of associated docs: the three .ini files in the my docs folder plus the three files in the AppData folder (DLCList, loadorder, and plugins). I have installed the most recent version of the Fallout 4 Script extender and spent the last day or so downloading the most recent versions of the mods I wish to use.
I have been referencing Gambit77's excellent example of his load order (thanks, Gambit77!) since I first saw it (Jan 20) and it has greatly helped me with manually adjusting my load order to minimize issues that are not immediately apparent. I already check for file dependencies, compatibility issues, up-to-date patches, and always install all mods that use one of the two keywords set first, then overwrite with the latest version of the keywords from the actual keywords mod page after so that I know I don't accidentally have an older version of the keywords.
I am now ready to start loading the mods, and this is where my question comes in. Do you (or any of the other very helpful posters who reply to this sort of question on a regular basis such as Ethreon) have some suggestions on the order to add mods when starting with a new NMM profile? One reason I download all the mods before installing is to make sure I have all the patches, etc. ready to go and then I create my own custom categories so I can install the mods in groups (usually one or two associated mods at a time and then run the game to test and make sure there are no CTDs or issues). I feel fairly comfortable with troubleshooting issues when they come up, but I feel that I might be able to better optimize things if I had a clearer idea of what mods should be installed first (i.e. bug fixes, settlement expansions, hi-res textures, etc.) or if the initial install order even makes a difference apart from those mods that overwrite a similar texture, mesh, file, etc. from another mod.
Thank you so much for any advice you can offer. It is much appreciated.