Last Friday the weather forecast was for possible lows of 26 degrees so I quickly de-winterized the yard sprinkler system. It takes about 8 minutes to do. Some of my neighbors last week were watering their lawns with a garden hose and sprinkler attachment. That method takes far more of one's time than simply de-winterizing and then again winterizing the sprinkler system. In fact, I water my yard with the sprinkler system once a month throughout the winter months. When there are a couple really warm days and nights forecast I simply de-winterize the system on the first warm day and then that evening or the following day winterize the system again. The de-winterizing takes about the same amout of time as the winterizing step. It could not be much easier.
I have owned four different homes with sprinkler systems over a period of greater than thirty years and not once have I had a system "blown out". Any well designed and installed system should be able to drain itself with one or two valves to open in the yard and then opening the valves on the anti-syphen or back-flow valve stand.
If you have a newly landscaped yard, it is the trees that especially need watering through the winter. Without doing so can cause what is commonly called "winter kill" of trees that are not established, although even older trees can often die from lack of water over the winter.