Enhancement of optical and structural quality of semipolar (11‾22) GaN grown by metal-organic chemical vapor deposition on planar m-sapphire substrates was achieved by using an in-situ epitaxial lateral overgrowth (ELO) technique with nanoporous SiNx layers employed as masks. In order to optimize the procedure, the effect of SiNx deposition time was studied by steady-state photoluminescence (PL), and X-ray diffraction. The intensity of room temperature PL for the (11‾22) GaN layers grown under optimized conditions was about three times higher compared to those for the reference samples having the same thickness but no SiNx interlayers. This finding is attributed to the blockage of extended defect propagation toward the surface by the SiNx interlayers as evidenced from the suppression of emissions associated with basal-plane and prismatic stacking faults with regard to the intensity of donor bound excitons (D<sup>0</sup>X) in lowtemperature PL spectra. In agreement with the optical data, full width at half maximum values of (11‾22) X-ray rocking curves measured for two different in-plane rotational orientations of [1‾100] and [11‾23] reduced from 0.33º and 0.26º for the reference samples to 0.2º and 0.16º for the nano-ELO structures grown under optimized conditions, respectively.