I keep an assorted 72 gal African that is well planted and have had minimal problems. I have many species of Anubia, java fern, onion, corkscrew val, jungle val, quill, and moss.
the key really is to keep the africans well fed and on a strict regiment. this will keep them from bothering with the plants other than to pick off algae. as far as holding down anubia and java fern, i have used fishing line which seems to be the only thing rigid enough. i tried bailing twine, and the africans thought this was a snack and ate the twine right off...lol.
Any particular species you looking at?
as far as lighting goes, i did a DIY using cfl and pvc pipe. i also don't use CO2 and have found that by just keeping it under 2wpg, you can still maintain adequate plant growth and avoid most algae. But i still keep a pleco to clean up the rocks and glass.
the plants will root themselves overtime, so as long as you tie them down good and keep the rhizome above the substrate, the will bloom. i suggest that you tie them to rocks first, then build your rock structures to accomodate the plants. Trying to fit them in after the fact is pretty tough and nothing but a headache (take it from me, i am dealing with that right now)
you can not avoid the cichlids uprooting plants sometimes, but overtime, most root structures will be strong enough to hold on (assuming you have a good substrate). i usually check every morning to see if they have done any "damage" and aside for a few random instances, they haven't done anything catostrophic. moving the tank around frequently (even just moving a few rocks), can give the cichlids something to "explore" other than your plants.
good luck to you!!