flagstone patio
Photo: John Gruen
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Free-Form Flagstone

This patio features flagstone with a cleft finish, created by splitting the stone into natural layers. The rough-and-tumble material shrugs off brunch guests' spilled wine just as easily as it does mud from garden boots: Simply hit it with a hose. The relatively wide gaps between flagstones are planted with creeping thyme. This good-looking, low-growing groundcover doesn't require mowing or much watering, and stands up to foot traffic. A dense green foliage gives way to late-spring-blooming flowers in shades of lavender, white, or red.

Similar to shown: Buckskin Select flagstone, $3 to $5 per square foot; thestonecenter.com
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