Stems can look really good planted very densely in small groups. In the past, I have done as small as about 2x2in of various stems in the background.
I tend to not use hardscape combined with a lot of stems. Not only does it take up real estate, it also is often hard to predict around growth. Ditching the hardscape isn't bad in a tank that doesn't need it, IMO.
I actually like stargrass but not in a high tech tank. It grows like a weed in every tank, much less with CO2 and high light. I don't know if you are considering getting rid of it but I would keep some. Again, it's a nice looking plant, it just can take over.
I think with some minor moving around, you can create a tank that is more "dynamic" while being easier to maintain at the same time. It does look good as is, but I think some denser planting and some planning can allow you to have more going on in the same amount of space.
your advice is always well recieved and appreciated bro... i thought of doing that (planting tight blocks of stems) initially when i started the 20L. of course i was inspired by the dutch style and stem gardens i've seen on out there...
and i may do something similar but with one major exception...my crypts.
i've got literally 12 or more species currently planted in there. even though they don't mind being shaded and like being recessed in the overgrowth...its only ok for now cuz they are slow growers but...many of the crypts will grow big and i have to consider their future growth especially when i start gassing co2. more importantly i put them there so i can (see) appreciate them and they're all hidden lol
just thinking out loud...i'm sure a pure stem tank has its own rewards and challenges. especially now that i have the plant mass to do so. my little dirt 5g is yielding some nice surprises. ratty stems from a tank take down in january, surprisingly have bounced back with a vengance. now that they have, i am realizing i have rare treasures i almost threw out (i'll post pics). i would love to showcase these and reintroduce my r. wallichi and sp. cabomba into a stem only tank. plus i've always been drawn to dutch style and collectoritis type tanks. i may still do this but perhaps in another tank... omg another tank! lol
getting back on track... i feel that i have welcome challenges in the rescape ahead. i may not totally remove all my hardscape (i have 4pcs of driftwood in there believe it or not) but definately 2 pieces. it sux cuz my flame moss is starting to shape up and i have h. pinitafidia growng on one. but we'll see.
as far as the stargrass... bro you know i've got the needle leaf rotalas all ripe for you. i will be more than happy to share the stargrass, i have tons. especially since i plan to remove most of it from this tank. the portions i do keep, i may either cut them down and keep them low (which isn't really working for me)... or relocate them to the front corners of my tank. heck i might just float those suckers and use them as green filler behnd my red lilys. we'll see.
i've got microswords in there right now that because of where they are (in the directin of flow) just collect a lot of mulm and poop. those guys are outta there! definately gonna be part of the next ROAK package lol. the only grassy type i will keep are the blyxa japonica you sent me
so the stargrass hotel will soon be the stargrass motel at the far corners of the tank. the central position in my tank will mist likely be my centerpiece driftwood/flame moss and a surprise weed in my tank Syngonanthus sp. 'Belem'. i didn't think this would thrive in an excel only situation but surprisingly it is competing with my rotalas! it is also part of the reason for the rescape since its lower shoots are being shaded... and i don't think it likes it :O i know my tonina fluvalitis definately doesn't like being shaded lol.
you'll be surprised talon when i rescape and bring forward the plants my rotalas are literally overshadowing. now that i am a little more experienced grower, i can inly now begin to visualize my tank in a new way. i love this hobby!