Here are some design notes when it comes to modern pergola designs. The most common pergola design is to have decorative and somewhat rounded ends on the beam. The easiest way of creating a more modern pergola is to do away with the decorative ends.
Use Your House Look at the lines of your home -- it might give you the perfect spot to place a deck (and make mowing or other yard-maintenance chores easier to boot). This deck-and-pergola combination, for example, is a perfect solution for an odd space.