Analysis of surface images indicates that GaAs(001) surfaces can be patterned directly by applying interferential irradiation of high power laser pulses on the surface. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) was used to image the patterned surfaces. The patterned surface shows strips that have the same separation as the interference period used. The direct laser patterning leaves the surface with trenches. The depth of trenches increases with the laser intensity and can be varied from few nanometers to a few hundred nanometers. At low laser intensity, strip shaped mound appears at the both edges of a trench, leaving a plateau area between them. The width of mound increases with the laser intensity, making the plateau area smaller. With a higher laser intensity, the plateau area disappear as the mounds merge together, forming a single strip between the adjacent trenches. AFM images from the patterned surface indicate that direct laser patterning can be used to fabricate nanostructures with a period smaller than that of the interference period as well as the wavelength of the laser used.