Ok, here is the update. I did end up getting a piece of drift wood and some of the plants for the dry start method came in. I do like this set up a bit more. The only frustrating bit was when redoing the slope I managed to bring up some power sand....it takes away from that even look I had when it was just aquasoil at the top. Oh well - it'll be grown over in time.
Here is an updated pic of the scape with some plants. Tomorrow I'll wipe the water off the front before picture. Too tired now. I'll be starting a journal soon.