Graphene and hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN) have similar crystal structures with a lattice constant difference of only 2%. However, graphene is a zero-bandgap semiconductor with remarkably high carrier mobility at room temperature, whereas an atomically thin layer of h-BN is a dielectric with a wide bandgap of ∼5.9 eV. Accordingly, if precise two-dimensional domains of graphene and h-BN can be seamlessly stitched together, hybrid atomic layers with interesting electronic applications could be created. Here, we show that planar graphene/h-BN heterostructures can be formed by growing graphene in lithographically patterned h-BN atomic layers. Our approach can create periodic arrangements of domains with size ranging from tens of nanometres to millimetres. The resulting graphene/h-BN atomic layers can be peeled off the growth substrate and transferred to various platforms including flexible substrates. We also show that the technique can be used to fabricate two-dimensional devices, such as a split closed-loop resonator that works as a bandpass filter.