Counting modules in a given module position
From Joomla! Documentation
The countModules method can be used within a template to determine the number of modules enabled in a given module position. This is commonly used to include HTML around modules in a certain position only if at least one module is enabled for that position. This prevents empty regions from being defined in the template output and is a technique sometimes referred to as "collapsing columns".
For example, the following code includes modules in the user1 position only if one or more modules are enabled for that position.
<?php if ($this->countModules( 'user1' )) : ?> <div class="user1"> <jdoc:include type="modules" name="user1" style="rounded" /> </div> <?php endif; ?>