When I first set up my tank, I was interested in having plants, but I had no real concept of "aquascaping". There was only a limited selection of plants, and I didn't have any idea of how densely I should plant the tank. In a certain sense I was lucky - I didn't waste money planting a dense garden which would have promptly died through lack of light and carbon dioxide.
My initial setup was deficient in more ways than I really want to discuss. The Echinodorus plants were a good focal point on one end of the tank. Since they were sold singly it was pretty easy to plant them properly. The Java ferns were, similarly, easy enough to separate, although I didn't know that you were supposed to keep the rhizome above the substrate. Even more problematically, I had no idea that I should separate the bunched plants. Had I separated the Ludwigia, Bacopa and Myriophylum I would have had a more garden-like arrangement, and may well have had better survival rates. Other problems included the total lack of non-plant features on the bottom of the tank and no real sense of what my ultimate design goal.
With no goal it was easy to end up headed nowhere.