It does seem a bit twisted. For now we have created three main templates set up with the right amount of columns and placeholders, so a page is generated with this in mind. If we need to, we can always generate the html inside it.
Looking at the problem, the solution itself does not need to be a placeholder but act like one, allowing controls inside it... a faux placeholder.
If anyone has actually made a control for controls or has a good column solution, we would love to hear it.