I'm looking at doing my own version of Azuma Makoto's bonsai. I know it will probably not be a 100th as good, but I want to try anyway. The first step is obviously building a similar base but I'm having trouble figuring out how he built his. The photos don't make it clear. I've tried just staggering them as they go up but that doesn't give the same effect. Here is an album for more reference.