This app was mentioned in
with an average of
I don't know about Nova Launcher, but I solved this problem in the Google Now Launcher by adding a small invisible widget to the homescreen so it still looks clean, but doesn't get deleted.
That's a pretty darned good idea. I hadn't even thought of that. Thanks a ton!
I actually ended up tweaking it. As I Googled invisible icons it seemed like I'd have to switch to a different launcher, which I'm not wholly opposed to, but I don't have any problems with Google Now Launcher. I found this invisible widget on the Play store though which has the desired effect. Thanks again for the inspiration!
I actually found an acceptable inspiration on /r/androidquestions. If anyone else would like to know the answer, I'll post it here.
Someone there suggested adding an invisible icon to an app and putting it on the homescreen. I started researching that idea and found an invisible widget on the Play store. Adding that to my main homescreen has the desired effect of keeping it empty.
There's a trick you can pull with an invisible widget. Add it to a screen, and you get an empty screen:
I have used this in the past
There is an app called "invisible widget". you can put that widget on the screen that is supposed to be visually empty