The ridge–slough landscape is a major part of the Everglades, a critically imperiled wetland in south Florida (USA). The landscape consists of two wetland types, shallow water ridges and deep water sloughs, interspersed in a complex pattern. Human changes to hydrology have changed this pattern, impacting water flow, fish movement, and bird habitat. Restoring pattern requires understanding its origins. We describe the pattern in detail, gaining insights relevant for management on its origins.