Flagstone patio patterns fall into three general categories – formal, broken, and organic or free-form. Formal patterns include herringbone and other patterns that depend on certain sizes and shapes of stones. Broken patterns fit irregular-shaped stones into a paving schema based on their shapes. Organic or free-form patterns often use shape, color and size to create a pattern that reads like a painting or sculpture.
Consider a formal pattern for a place that has a very regular shape. Two popular formal patterns are herringbone, similar to the pattern in fabric, and cobblestones, which are usually small, square stones arranged in regular ranks and rows. These patterns are easy to layout and bed, though they may require cutting custom stones to fit into corners and adjacent to walkways.
Broken patterns, using stones of more natural shapes, are also easy to lay out and much easier to use in spaces that are odd shapes or dimensions because usually they don’t need to be cut to fit. The most customized patterns are organic designs made to work in a particular setting. These include stones cut in shapes such as leaves or proportioned to be worked into spiral patterns. Such designs highlight a flagstone’s natural variations in color.