I think #1 is workable, you might not even need the jobes sticks. #3 depending on the kitty litter (very variable) is the same as #1. #2 is the safe way out, a good way to learn how to grow plants and battle algae until you get the hang of it.
It all depends on the plants you want to keep.
#2 good for stem plants, anubius and Javafern and moss. Some rooted plants would be ok too.
#1 and #3 more hard to keep rooted plants could be added to the mix.
Aquascape? I'm a crypt farmer.
It's a fine line between fishing and standing on the shore looking like an idiot.
That IS an aquascape, it's titled "The Vacant Lot".