Before arranging the cedar layer, McMillen inserted three paperbark birch branches into the centre of the mound, creating vertical interest.
After the paperbark birch branches were secured, McMillen began arranging the cedar branches around the rim of the urn. McMillen arranged the branches while keeping a clock in mind; if the urn was the face of a clock, the first four branches were arranged at 12, 3, 6 and 9.
McMillen infilled between the four guiding branches, creating an evenly arranged halo of cedar branches around the rim of the urn.
Before arranging the second layer, McMillen selected a single branch of red pine and used it to determine the desired length of the branches. As he did with the cedar branches, McMillen used this first branch as a template to trim the rest of the branches to length, and used the 'clock' method to arrange the branches in the urn.