This will run against most of the advice we read, but I still go with it. Step one for planning is to NOT take the written word as totally true until you've tried it!!
Do not believe the stories about any fish nor plant until you've tried it in your tank since there are so many different small points from tank to tank. One of the biggest points that differs is who is running the tank and that is a major biggie! If you start with the idea that African cichlids CAN be run in planted tanks, it will be totally against much of the info you read, but then, if you try it, you may find the written info doesn't apply to your tank. I started the fishkeeping and worked into African cichlids before trying some plants, quite accidentally. I had 7.8-8.0 PH with GH/KH above 300 PPM, so Africans were an easy sell but then after having them and adding various plants that worked, I read that plants had to have much softer water??? So I had to start thinking about why there are plants in almost every type of water around the world from the soft acidic stuff to the springs in Florida, Texas and such where the water bubbles up out of solid limestone. DUH? Maybe I have to sort out which plants like what and go with what works, regardless of what I read!
Of all the items involved in the hobby, the plants are about the cheapest, so I simply try a type and see how it does before deciding which to stock in larger numbers.
So on to the point of how to deal with fish who might dig?
Look over what the fish want and decide what they don't want and you will find each fish may dig in different spots in the tank. So to keep fish from digging up plants, I work to put the plants somewhere that fish don't dig. Shellies are not big diggers, as Africans go but one way to totally solve the problem is to put the plants up off the bottom where the shells go!
To keep the PH stable while also raising it a bit, limestone is one type which is easy and cheap to buy from a landscape supply, if it is not "native" in your area, so a bunch of flat slabs are easy to use to hide pots for plants over they can be drilled out to make covers for the roots and let the plants grow out of the holes.
Point I want to make is that it is really a matter of knowing your fish and plants and then using the old brain to figure out a few tricks to make it work----but it only works if you are willing to make it so! Swords, crypts, anubia, tiger lotus, anacharis and lots of others works for me but I have to try it first, not just read about it. No bottom folks are going to dig up Java moss or Java fern that hangs off wood or rocks six inches off the floor!
Go for it!