The key to this is properly sizing your return.
When sizing your returnpump you need to calculate the head height you will be dealing with. This is the height from the top of your tank to the pump. Usually if the sump is under the stand this is 3'-4'. Various makers of pumps will have flow charts of their pumps showing how each pump performs at the various head pressure. For example a 1200GPH pump might only push 1000GPH at 3' head and only 950GPH at 4' head.
If you get a pump(s) large enough then you wont need powerheads in the main tank. Of course after you aquascape you might find some spots that are not getting the flow you had expected and you need t do some accessory flow via a PH