I did the best I could with the photos. This tank isn't set up for pictures... but it should be enough to give you a general idea.
One thing I need to note... this tank has a screen cover on it. I would not suggest a screen cover for the newts. My salamander doesn't climb like the newts do, and he's not as coordinated. You can do the same thing I've done only with a glass cover and it should work just fine.
Let me know if you have any other questions.
The first photo is a full view of the entire tank. This is 30 gallons.
The 2nd photo is a closer shot of the waterfall I made out of pagoda rock and some some other flat rocks I was able to find. I used some rocks from the wild, but my salamander is wild caught. I don't suggest doing that with a newt. The pollution levels are not something you can get rid of and they would be toxic to your newts. Pagoda can be purchased at most lfs's who stock fish supplies. If you need help finding it, let me know.
The 3rd photo shows the thin layer of gravel at the bottom with java moss growing down there. I have smaller rocks scattered around the bottom to give the natural streambed appearance.
The 4th photo shows my salamander peeking up through the leaves at me taking his picture. To his left is the waterfall. The rocks are mostly flat, which is why I used pagoda, so it creates shelves. If you're careful you can stack it so it's very sturdy and it makes great steps for the waterfall and also for the animals to climb on. The filter is tucked underneath the top rock seen in this photo, and behind the others. I built the rock structure around it to hide it, then added the one above to cover/hide it. The water fall acts as additional filtration. The filter I used is a Whisper 10i, though I would suggest you work with something a little stronger. I do frequent maintenance on this tank and he's not an escape artist while I'm doing it. Newts would be a problem, and the variety of foods will create more waste than I deal with here. Also remember, plants eat nutrient levels also, but it takes a lot of plants to make maintenance any easier or less, and they have to be well established.
The plants I have in this tank are:
Pothos (the one with the big green leaves)
Pond and bog plants are the best ones to use for this sort of thing because they can grow nicely out of water provided the roots/base are always submerged. There is about 10 lbs of medium natural gravel in this tank.
If you need more help or details on how to create something similar, I can go into further details for you. If you have a problem finding these plants, let me know, I can spare some of the java moss and phothos if need be. They both grow really fast.
This tank has been set up for 1 yr come August. The pothos I started with was about 14 inches long... that is all growth since then. I just keep coiling it around the tank as it grows.
Hope this helps.