* Prowell Woodworks is a product-based company. We are not available for site visits.

Printed Installation Guides and Working Drawings arrive with all shipped or delivered orders.


The workmanship involved with Prowell’s Fence Panels merits some attention to the installation. A few aspects below that will hopefully answer any uncertainties you have regarding both the product itself, and what’s required of the installer.

The actual installation goes quick enough to catch your neighbors by surprise, soliciting a quota of kudos to both you, your installers, and lastly, possibly, the Prowell outfit.


The link on the left margins,”Setting Your Post” makes not only for good reading, but the extremely important role of setting the posts to our specifications, whether you’re in the fetid humidity of Georgia or the kinder temperance of San Francisco. It will result in posts that last 30-40 years. If this process is ignored, the weakest link to your new fence will be the rotting posts. Replacing rotted posts to an otherwise structurally sound fence is no small task. So below is a simple graphic worth pondering.

The Post Page also discusses the wood species for posts, listing the advantages and disadvantages of each culled from nearly 50 years of experience setting thousands of fence posts in every corner of the country.

pdf specs for fence posts


Below we see the end-grain of typical post prematurely harvested. The growth rings are separated by possibly 1/4″ to 3/8″. The fiber between each ring is essentially baby fat. Fatty tissue that is immature and prone to the infestation of bacteria (Fungus, rot).

wood grain

In this image we see a western cedar post that has been allowed to fully mature before harvest, resulting in growth rings that are approximately 1/16″ apart, resulting in mature, core fiber that has been allowed to develop its tannins, the genetic oils that thwart bacteria.

wood grain 2


Working down the line in Bethesda, MD. Following the string-line along a given run, the holes are dig as each post and panel is set. Once the run is finished, the post placements are nudged with a digging bar, shifting the pea gravel, to align to the string-line before the final cap of concrete is poured in place. Whether it’s a hand posthole tool, or an auger, this is the procedure most often followed.

installing prowell fence panels


Below is an example of a typical layout for an extended fence-line. Sent in as a hand-drawn sketch or anything that allows us to separate the various sections and calculate an index of how many panels per section, and their net widths.
Among the links on the left-margin is ‘Example Layout’. It describes how to calculate the number of panels per a given run, as well as the net widths.

pdf fence layout

Typical Panel showing posts extending 3-3/4″ beyond the top of the panel and a 2″ clearance between the panel and the grade.

typical prowell fence panel spec


Post Cap style #1
From 4″ to 24″

prowell post cap spec

Post Cap Style #2
Up to 6″ maximum post size

custom wood post caps #2. prowell


The original Prowell Fence Panel. The methodology for the fence panels debuted in 1996 and were consequently featured in a flurry of publication from Fine Homebuilding to Sunset Magazine. For several years when sales were still relegated to the San Francisco Bay Area, Charles(and young Ben) installed each and every commission. Once a procedure was established, the Step-by-Step Installation Guide was created and this aspect of the product was left to 3rd party installers and homeowners.

installing prowell fence panels

Ben Prowell on site in Ross, CA. Circa 1991.

Ben prowell installing a wood fence panel in Marin County, CA

Brian Van Rheenan illustrating how the panels are easily installed between the posts Brian and his crew have been managing our local installations for more than a dozen years.

Brian Van Rheenan installing fence panels

Installing the gate hinges.

brian van rheenan installing wood gate


Not your typical off-the-shelf tongue and groove plank. The solid panels are individual planks milled specifically to provide the maximum surface mating mass.
The result is a glued up floating slab that freely expands and contracts from season to season.

T&G joinery


For those panels utilized to wrap and conceal unsightly UVAC utilities, the Lift-Off Panel offers a convenient alternative to the cost of a seldom-used gate.
On the inside face of the panel, a series of mitered blocks supports the panel such that it can be lifted away for access. The Blocks marked ‘A’ below arrive mounted to the panel. The blocks marked ‘B’ are to be mounted to the posts. The net width of the panels are built 1/4″ less than the opening between posts to allow for normal expansion during the wet season. A typical panel for this use weighs about 45 pounds.

See below: HVAC Enclosures.

lift-off fence panels
prowell lift-off fence panels


Fence Style #22 below illustrates the aesthetics of our Cantilevered Corner. Utilizing a system of joints that insures the panel will not sag, it offers nothing more than a visual diversion that departs from every corner fence-line ever built.
Limited to a maximum of 24″ x 24″.

More information at the link on the upper left margin, or click the image below.

Cantilevered fence corner without post in Morrow Bay, CA


There are numerous examples on the web site where the HVAC units are enclosed with solid panels and an access gate. All of which adds to the existing architectural mass of the house. After decades of these orders from all of those with central air conditioning, we eventually addressed the need with a design layout that eliminates the cost of a little used gate, as well as reducing the posts from six to four. Coupled with the more open exposure of the pickets and upper grids, we add a more lightly designed footprint to the existing architecture.

Two Cantilever Corners used on both ends.
A height off the grade of only 46″
A center Lift-Off Panel

Fence Corners without Posts, Prowell


The optional Gable Cap. Available on all panels as an aesthetic feature that also adds to the overall rigidity.

gable caps for fence panels


Prowell’s Fence style #2 on Standard spacing at 1-1/2″. Base Price + 8% or Base Cost w/o Pattern Blocks

Utilized as a trash enclosure, with the spacing reduced to 3/4″. Base Cost + 17% or Base +9% w/o Pattern Blocks

Reducing the spacing to 3/4″ allows a more private enclosure while maintaining the basic elements of design. Standing more than 5 degrees off center and the visibility between any picket spacing is eliminated.

custom wood garden fence 2-6dd
custom wood fence 2-6d


AA thorough explanation can be found on the Sloping Grades link along the upper left margin of this page and the Home Page

The panel to the right of the gate climbs up a the sloping grde while maintaining the levelalignment across top.

A long continuous slope where the panels are built ‘on the bias’


A thorough explanation can be found on the Terraced Grades link along the upper left margin of this page and the Home Page

Changes in the site elevation can require transitions within the same fenceline.

A series of panels stepping along a continuous slope. Each step is equal.

The following images illustrate the rare mishaps when things simply go wrong.

2″ Clearance

An example of setting the panel too close to the grade, inviting bacteria to set up house along the bottom rail.
The panels are spec’d for a 2″ clearance between the grade and the panel. And although it’s cedar and one of the most resistant species to bacteria and fungus, why tempt a starving ecosystem?

prowell fence

Reading a Level?

Not a fence panel, but we’ve included it here as a shocking reminder to take your time, read your level twice, and if you’re in Georgia, as these folks, be mindful of what you add to your morning coffee.

crooked gates


The below image represents something called “cathedraling”. When figured grain is oriented upwards, and a paint or solid body stain has been applied prior to shipping, gravitating moisture can lift the grain. Shortly after, we switched to a vertical grain grade of cedar and the problem was eliminated forever.

Why? The cedar is genetically coded for the climates of the Pacific Northwest. It ships to the Prowell shop with a similar climate, as well as the protection of being inventoried in the shop. When it finally ships, to say Washington DC, in August, the cedar must acclimate to the change in climate. For the first several weeks it expands in a reaction to the new, humid climate. If it had been finished with a non-flexible finish, such as paint, the paint is unable to swell at the same rate for those first few weeks and we can potentially see the below result.

For this reason we do not offer pre-finishes in paint or solid body stains nor any finish that includes an inflexible ingredient.

See Pre-Finish Options for a full description of approved finishes.

peeling finish


Once the fence panels are finished, the solid floating insert panel may shrink slightly in the warmer, drier months and create a reveal that exposes raw unfinished wood. Your solution is to simply touch this up with the extra finish you saved in your garage. Come the wet season and the panel will swell and the reveal will be hidden. Below, the grain direction of the insert panel is horizontal. Wood will change dimensionally perpendicular to the grain.

staining fences


Your Content Goes HereTypical posts for the Pony Panels, shipped with threaded rod that seats into corresponding bores in the top of the wall. 3″ x 3″ x 24-1/2″ ht.

wood posts for only panels

abstract separator
Gallery #1 Garden Gates
Gallery #1A Garden Gates
Gallery #1B Garden Gates
Gallery #1C Garden Gates
Gallery #200 Series Garden Gates Plus
Gallery #2 Driveway Gates
Gallery #3 Fences
Gallery #4 Arbors
Gallery #5 Columns
Gallery #6 Benches/Swings
Gates Pricing
Fences Pricing
Driveway Gates Pricing
Columns Pricing