Formed in 1964, the firm was an outgrowth of an initial partnership begun in San Francisco in 1939 between Garrett Eckbo, and his brother-in-law, Edward Williams who, with the addition of Robert Royston in 1945, founded Eckbo, Royston & Williams. Three years later Francis Dean joined the firm, which was dissolved ten years later upon Royston’s departure. With the addition of Don Austin, a new firm, Eckbo, Dean, Austin and Williams, was incorporated in 1964, later, in 1973, officially adopting the moniker, EDAW. In 1979 Eckbo left EDAW, the firm he helped to found.
Guided by a progressive vision of the leadership role of landscape architecture, EDAW became involved in sustainable planning at the regional scale as early as the 1960s when the firm created the California Urban Metropolitan Open Space Plan for the State. The firm also began to work internationally, with projects in New Delhi, India (Lodi Park and the Ford Foundation Headquarters) and Osaka, Japan (Civic Center) among other locations worldwide.
Growth continued apace in the 1970s and ‘80s, with new satellite offices in Alexandria, Virginia, and Atlanta, Georgia. Joe Brown was named CEO of EDAW in 1992, and soon the firm would grow to some 400 employees operating in sixteen offices internationally, including Asia. EDAW was acquired by AECOM Technology Corporation in 2005.