The growth of GaAs films by MBE on mesa-type patterned Si substrates has been investigated. Mesa widths were varied from 10 µm to 200 µm and were prepared using chemical etching with Si3N4 masks and reactive ion etching. The residual stress in the epitaxial layer was estimated using low temperature (7K) photoluminescence and the defect distribution was studied by cross sectional TEM, dislocation densities were in addition determined by etch pits. The residual stress and the dislocation density decreased monotonically with the reduction of growth area. By the incorporation of strained layers with the reduction of growth area, the etch pit density in GaAs layers on mesas was reduced further.