I feel your pain. You see these nice aquascaped tanks and think, I want and can do that, then you try, and, well, doesn't work out as well. lol.
here is my journey and transformation, and it's looking nicer and nicer each day as the plants fill in.
First real "scape" attempt
The other thing to remember, is when you see all these nice scapes in photos and on sites, most of the time, they spent hours or days pruning the tank exactly, and then snapping the perfect photo, then they leave it and it grows in or they tear it down. It's like seeing a super model in a $1000 dress and after 6 hours of hair and makeup. That's the moneyshot. Seeing a super model with no makeup and in jogging pants, looks like a whole different woman. They play the same trick on us with planted tanks. lol.