Sand is tricky, and I honestly wouldn't advise it unless you have a cycled tank.
If your tank is cycled, then go on ahead :D Playground sand works well, you just have to rinse it out very well before adding. When you add it, let it settle before turning on your filter. During your partial water changes, you should run a hand or something through the sand (try not to stirr it up) so you can get rid of anerobic spots where poisionous gas will build up under the surface.
As for plants in sand , I would advise something like aponogeton bulbs, wisteria, or marimo balls. They work well in sand, you'd just have to add some form of fertilizers (tabs would work) because the sand won't do much.
edit: if you are looking for micrograsses, be warned that you need a fair ammount of light. I think 2 watts per gallon would be the absolute minimum, and they definately need fertilizers.