Need to do sunken stitches but not sure how

Hello!

I’m not sure how to explain this but basically I’m doing the back piece of a sweater and I’m thinking of making some stitches look sunken in when the pieces is worn. It’s a bit like intarsia where maybe you have a flower on the back, but instead of a different colour, the flower is “sunken”.

I’m not sure what stitches to use to create this effect. I’ve tried purling the background and knitting the flower but the problem is that the knit sinks in vertically but pops up horizontally. I’ve thought of cables but i’m not sure if it’s viable or aesthetically pleasing to cable the whole back piece and only stockinette the flower I want. The flowers are about 30-50% of the whole back piece and the back is knitted from bottom up.

:think: what if you knit the background and then purl the flower? I’m not sure if that would work or not…